Donor celebration marks milestone in Wilmington Hospital transformation

Donor celebration marks milestone in Wilmington Hospital transformation

Carol A. Ammon and Christiana Care President and CEO Dr. Robert J. Laskowski stand in front of the Carol A. Ammon South Tower, which was unveiled at a ceremony marking the near completion of Phase 1 of the Wilmington Hospital transformation project. Ms. Ammon contributed the largest individual donation in Christiana Care's history in support of the project.
Carol A. Ammon and Christiana Care President and CEO Dr. Robert J. Laskowski stand in front of the Carol A. Ammon South Tower, which was unveiled in a ceremony marking the near completion of Phase 1 of the Wilmington Hospital transformation project. Ms. Ammon contributed the largest individual donation in Christiana Care’s history in support of the project.

Christiana Care Health System unveiled the first phase of its newly transformed Wilmington Hospital Campus with a special dedication ceremony Thursday, May 30, in front of the hospital’s new main entrance. Attended by nearly 200 donors, trustees, employees and city and state dignitaries, the event culminated with the unveiling of a new nine-story tower named for Carol A. Ammon, the benefactor responsible for the largest individual gift in Christiana Care’s history for the Wilmington Hospital Transformation Project.

“This new facility transforms the care we are privileged to provide our neighbors,” said Robert J. Laskowski, M.D., MBA, President and CEO, Christiana Care. “This project is an exercise in innovation and partnership. We now have better organized our services in a way that meets the needs of our patients and their families and delivers care that is truly of value to them.”

Christiana Care’s $210 million investment in transforming health care for the city of Wilmington and the state of Delaware was lauded in remarks by Gov. Jack Markell, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, U.S. Rep. John Carney and Wilmington Director of Economic Development Harold Gray.

“We can only be successful in our mission to make quality care accessible and affordable if we have the best possible facilities,” Gov. Markell said. “Thanks to the leadership of Drs. Laskowski and [Chief Medical Officer] Janice Nevin, and everyone involved in this renovation and expansion project, this marks a significant step in meeting our challenge to transform the way we deliver health care services.”

The climax of the event was an unveiling to reveal the building’s name: the Carol A. Ammon South Tower. Ms. Ammon has served as a trustee of Christiana Care since 1998 and previously served as the chair of the board of directors. She shared the example of her father, John H. Ammon, who inspired her life-long desire to give back. She expressed her hope that her gift will inspire others to be generous.

“This expansion is about giving back to our community so people have the health care they need,” Ms. Ammon said.

In addition to Ms. Ammon’s gift, the generous philanthropic investment of more than 350 individuals, businesses and foundations — many whom are listed on the glass-encased donor wall within the new main lobby — helped to bring the Wilmington Hospital Transformation Project to life. In total, the community provided more than $35 million, including 10 gifts of $1 million or more and 40 gifts of $100,000 or more. Together, these financial gifts represent the largest amount in donations in Christiana Care’s history.

“What these volunteer leaders and the volunteers they assembled on their teams did was to work tirelessly to open doors … and offer our neighbors the opportunity to make a philanthropic investment that will benefit our community today and for generations to come,” said Lear Pfeiffer, who co-chaired the donation campaign along with her husband Gary Pfeiffer, the board chair at Christiana Care.

After the ceremony, guests toured the new main lobby and Emergency Department of Wilmington Hospital, set to open in June.

“What you will see inside will amaze you,” Dr. Laskowski said. “But even more amazing is the way that the people — the doctors, nurses and support staff and volunteers, continue to transform care throughout this historic project. They are the heroes of today’s milestone in Christiana Care’s history.”

The Wilmington campus, at 14th and Washington streets, is on the same ground where Wilmington’s first homeopathic hospital opened nearly 125 years ago. Upon completion of the project in 2014, the re-designed Wilmington Hospital expands by 337,000 square feet, creating a 1 million-square-foot, state-of-the-science facility including a nine-story tower, an Emergency Department double its current size, a medical office building and a café.

This extraordinary transformation began with construction in 2009. The expansion provides dramatically enhanced services to patients and their families throughout the next year and in coming decades. Further improvements to the campus include:

  • An expanded 30-bed Center for Advanced Joint Replacement.
  • Larger intensive- and intermediate-care units that double capacity.
  • 13 larger, technologically advanced operating rooms in the new surgical suite.
  • A tranquil atrium and healing garden.

The project also advances Christiana Care’s commitment to partner with patients and families. This has included the development of the Patient and Family Advisory Council, which recently marked its two-year anniversary as a forum for patients and family members to help guide the way in which the hospital delivers care.

Throughout the construction, Christiana Care’s Wilmington Hospital Campus has remained fully operational, providing all services and care to patients and their loved ones.

“For over a century, Wilmington Hospital has been serving the Wilmington community with first-rate health services,” U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said. “I am proud to have Christiana Care delivering health care services here in Delaware and as a crucial partner in health care reform.”

“As a proud Wilmingtonian, I am thrilled by the investment the landmark Wilmington Hospital will have on helping treat people in our community,” U.S. Sen. Coons said. “This expansion will offer state-of-the-art technology and clinicians at the top of their fields. Christiana Care and Dr. Bob Laskowski are the perfect team to lead this effort. I congratulate them on their progress and look forward to the advancements to come.”

“Christiana Care’s renovation and expansion of Wilmington Hospital will give more Delawareans access to world-class medical care and supports hundreds of much-needed jobs in the city,” Congressman Carney said. “I live just a few blocks from here and have watched this project grow over the last several years. I’m very excited to tour the new facility and see the state-of-the-art improvements that will help improve patient care, reduce costs and save lives.”

City of Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams officially recognized the importance of the event by issuing a proclamation on the Wilmington Hospital Transformation Project.

“The transformation of Christiana Care’s Wilmington Hospital Campus represents Christiana Care’s continued commitment to serve its community and to ensure that its neighbors can access and receive the highest level of care and comfort for decades to come,” the proclamation reads.

Wilmington Hospital has the second busiest emergency department in Delaware, with 54,000 visits annually, and saw 75,000 patient visits in its Health Center last year. The Wilmington Hospital Campus has served the community for nearly 125 years, meeting diverse medical needs and providing a safety net for people in underserved communities.

Photo gallery: Wilmington Hospital Dedication Ceremony