In a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Intermountain Healthcare leaders, community representatives, and patients broke ground on a second Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital campus in Lehi, Utah, the first step to bringing much-needed pediatric healthcare services closer to the area.
Additionally, officials announced that the name of the new hospital site will be the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus, which will honor the Miller family’s support and vision for children’s health and wellness in the Intermountain West.
Plans for the 38-acre Miller Family Campus, located at 2250 N. Miller Campus Drive in Lehi, include a full-service children’s hospital providing the same world-class specialty pediatric services that patients will receive at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, with the exception of transplant and heart surgery.
The Primary Children’s second location in high-growth Utah County will help many families avoid traveling long distances to access high-quality specialty pediatric care, said Lisa Paletta, RN, administrator of Primary Children’s Hospital in Lehi.
“Right now, more than half of the children treated at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City must travel an hour or more to receive treatment,” Paletta said. “Breaking ground on the new Miller Family Campus represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand Primary Children’s pediatric specialty care in one of the nation’s fastest-growing pediatric populations and provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place for many families.
“We are thankful to the Miller Family, Lehi City leaders and Mayor Mark Johnson, Intermountain Healthcare, and Intermountain Foundation, whose strong partnership made this day possible,” Paletta added.
The Partida family is just one family that will be helped by the location of the second Primary Children’s Hospital. In 2016, young Brailey Partida was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital by Intermountain Life Flight following a traumatic injury that resulted in the loss of her lower right leg.
“It was the longest drive of our lives,” said Jacob Partida, who drove to the Salt Lake City Hospital to be with his daughter.
Today, Brailey is a happy and active 9-year-old who enjoys science and likes to run track and play soccer and basketball.
“Having the hospital right here in Utah County will lower stress for many families in times of crisis,” mother Teri Partida said.
The Miller Family Campus of Primary Children’s Hospital is part of Intermountain Healthcare’s $500 million promise to create the nation’s model health system for children. This multi-faceted plan and historic investment in children’s health will be equally shared by Intermountain Healthcare and community philanthropic support through an emerging campaign organized by Intermountain Foundation.
Plans for the model health system were announced in January 2020, inspiring a transformational $50 million gift from Utah businesswoman, civic leader, and philanthropist Gail Miller and the Miller family.
“Intermountain Healthcare has determined, in conjunction with the Miller family, that the best use of this incredible gift is to support the building of a second Primary Children’s Hospital campus in Lehi,” said Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, who is also a pediatric critical care physician. “The campus will be known as the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus, and it will improve the lives of children and families for generations to come.
The innovative plans for the state-of-the-art hospital will fill a need in Utah and surrounding states that has not been available before, said Gail Miller, who is owner and chair of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, and chair of the Intermountain Healthcare Board of Trustees.
Miller said she has felt fortunate to have Primary Children’s Hospital close to home to address the needs of children, including her own.
As a young mother, she said her infant son underwent two surgeries at the hospital to successfully remove blood clots from his brain. Years later, her grandson and great-grandson, who were born prematurely, both received lifesaving care from Primary Children’s experts.
“When my family and I were approached about Intermountain’s plan to build a model health system for children, which will feature advancements in pediatric health research, innovation and technology and more, it was evident to us that this was a very important initiative that would be beneficial to our community, and we were moved by its mission,” Miller said.
“One of our family’s guiding principles is to ‘go about doing good until there is too much good in the world.’ We decided to honor our mission by helping to impact the collective future of our whole state, by helping to fund this hospital and be part of the good Intermountain Healthcare will bring to the whole Intermountain region,” said Miller.
“By building this incredible healthcare system for children, Intermountain Healthcare will be providing a better future for generations to come. We are proud that our gift will help establish Utah as the home of the nation’s healthiest pediatric population,” she added.
The virtual groundbreaking ceremony streamed to audiences online to ensure safety of community members and caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic. It included renderings of the hospital’s exterior and scenes of the campus site.
For the ceremonial turning-of-the-dirt, dignitaries and children including patient Payson Inkley clutched brightly painted shovels with images representing strength, happiness and endurance created by Hailey Gafa, a recent graduate of nearby Utah Valley University who aspires to become an art therapist for children.
“The reason I’m happy to be here celebrating this amazing project is because I was a patient of Primary Children’s Hospital for several years,” Inkley said. “I was diagnosed with leukemia three and a half years ago, just before my seventh birthday. I didn’t know leukemia meant cancer. So when I found out I had cancer, I was surprised. But I was never really terrified because I knew the doctors had a plan. After 889 days of fighting, I became a cancer survivor.”
Estimated at $335 million, the new hospital campus will feature a five-story, 66-bed hospital and a three-story medical office building totaling 468,000 square feet.
Artist renderings depict an L-shaped building, housing both hospital and clinic services, with the hospital oriented north and south and the clinic portion running east and west.
The building is beautifully designed for children, and will include:
- Pediatric specialty trauma and emergency services
- Pediatric and newborn intensive care units
- Medical and surgical unit
- Operating rooms and surgical services
- Inpatient and outpatient behavioral and mental health services
- Safe and Healthy Families clinic
- Sleep medicine services
- Infusion services
- Rehabilitation services
- Specialty outpatient clinics
- Laboratory services
- Imaging services
- Space to accommodate rapid expansion of patient rooms as needed
- A Medical Office building with more than 140 patient care rooms for medical, surgical, and behavioral health subspecialty clinic visits and outpatient procedures and treatments.
Additional campus amenities will include food services, a gift shop, and a family-friendly environment. It is scheduled to open in early 2024.
The new hospital campus will feature pediatric care integrated with Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. That includes the pediatric specialists at University of Utah Health, who will work collaboratively with Primary Children’s caregivers to bring the best pediatric care possible to patients.
“Children’s hospitals are special places, and they are among the most valued community treasures. It’s great to see all of the energy and commitment to living out our philosophy of the ‘The Child First And Always,’ and this groundbreaking is another step in that journey,” said Dr. Angelo Giardino, chair of the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and chief medical officer at Primary Children’s Hospital.
More information and updates about the project are online at PrimaryChildrens.org/LehiConstruction.