The University of Michigan Health System’s newly constructed C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital will open its doors to patients later than anticipated.

Though the hospital will be open for special events starting Nov. 1, the beginning of patient care — originally slated for mid-November — has been rescheduled to Dec. 4. Pat Warner, executive director of the new hospital, explained that the delay stems from fire safety regulations and complications with obtaining the building’s occupancy license, which forced administrators to revise the training schedule for hospital employees.

“We have 6,000 staff to orient, train and get familiar with the building,” Warner said. “We thought that we’d be able to get multiple faculty and staff in for that training earlier, starting this summer.”

She added that the state’s fire marshal declared that no more than 50 people — not including construction workers — could be inside of the building at the same time prior to the hospital’s opening. The fire marshal made the decision based on the building’s size and the fact that all the fire alarms had not yet been tested. Additionally, the fire marshal recommended that any group in the building should stay on the same floor in the same unit to maximize safety.

While the complex was scheduled to open Nov. 13, Warner said the new facility will open in a reasonable amount of time.

“We are still on target. We’re early,” Warner said. “This is a massive project, and we’re on time with construction, and our overall plan is still on track.”

The hospital’s opening has also been delayed because the building still needs an occupancy certification. According to Warner, the building was supposed to be examined for its certificate of occupancy last week. Instead, it will be surveyed this week.

As a result of these complications, hospital administrators decided to rethink their original opening date.

“There’s nothing magical about the date November 15,” Warner said.

She added that the safety and comfort of the staff was paramount for the administrators in their decision to postpone the hospital’s opening date.

“We have always said that we will make sure our faculty and staff feel they’ve had enough time to be trained and oriented,” Warner said.

The new date, Dec. 4, was selected because it will not only account for all the schedule changes resulting from building complications, but it will also factor in the possible scheduling conflict of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Warner added that the new opening date also has some benefits for hospital administrators and staff. She pointed to the benefit of holding faculty and staff training closer to the opening date because the material would be fresh in employees’ minds upon the facility’s opening. In addition, hospital employees welcomed the delay and the administrators’ concern for their safety.

The 12-story complex, which cost $754 million, is the largest construction project ever undertaken by the University.

“The majority of faculty and staff are relieved and supportive of this decision,” Warner said. “We don’t make a decision like this without the input of all of our key faculty, staff and leaders.”

Warner said the hospital administrators are excited about the new facility, which she described as state-of-the-art and environmentally sustainable.

“We are so proud to be part of the (University) community and to have been given the opportunity to design the most extraordinary women and children’s hospital,” she said. “We can hardly wait to show it off to everybody.”

Clarification: A previous version of this article incorrectly implied that the fire alarms in the hospital were inadequate.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.