Christiana Care installed the final beams for its Center for Women & Children’s Health on Wednesday, August 15. This represents a major milestone toward the opening of a new facility that will help to transform care and create an exceptional experience for women and families.

In the “topping out” ceremony — a construction rite held when the last beam is placed atop a structure — builder Skanska hoisted beams with an American flag, a Christiana Care flag and an evergreen tree atop the completed structural framework.

The building is set to open on the Christiana Hospital campus in 2020.

“The Center for Women & Children’s Health reflects The Christiana Care Way. It signifies our service as partners in the health of our community,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of Christiana Care. “All of us want the very best for the newest members of our community and for their families. Through this new center we are bringing the full range of the health system’s expertise to women, babies and children. This significant initiative is part of our commitment to the healthy future of our community and our state.”

Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, adds her signature to the final steel beam destined to go atop the new Center for Women & Children’s Health at Christiana Care’s Christiana Hospital campus Aug. 15.

The ceremony also offered insights into the innovative features of the new Center for Women & Children’s Health, including:

Private patient rooms that support couplet care — where new moms and their newborns can stay together.

  • Sleep-in space for families in each patient room.
  • A tranquil family rooftop garden.
  • State-of-the-art private labor and delivery suites.
  • A comfortable labor lounge.
  • Spacious private maternity rooms.
  • An expanded continuing care nursery for babies with special needs.

“Christiana Care is where generations of families in Delaware and the region have gotten their start,” said David A. Paul, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics and clinical leader of the Women & Children’s Service Line.

Architectural rendering of the new Center for Women & Children’s Health.

“Now we are giving these families an expanded, state-of-the-art facility that is designed for the whole family and women across the lifespan. This is going to be an incredible place – with the care and innovation that our families and our community deserve. This is where parents are born. This is where families are born.”

Plans for the 400,000 square-foot Center for Women & Children’s Health were shaped by health care professionals, patients and families, and designed by the architectural firm HKS.

Plans for the 400,000 square-foot Center for Women & Children’s Health were shaped by health care professionals, patients and families, and designed by the architectural firm HKS.

“As we are designing the building, we are attuned to the changing needs of women across generations and how to engage women before, during and after they walk through our doors,” said Matthew Hoffman, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Christiana Care. “Our community relies on us to lead the way in women’s and children’s health.”

One of the mothers who helped shape the final blueprints of the new center is Amanda Sleeper, co-chair of the health system’s volunteer Women & Children’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee.

“Everyone wants an exceptional experience in the place they start their families,” said Sleeper, who, with other attendees at Wednesday’s ceremony, signed the final beam before it was raised. “This new center at Christiana Care represents the future of women and children’s health in Delaware.”

The final steel beam was signed by more than 100 Christiana Care leaders, employees, physicians, government officials and members of the community to create a lasting memory of a significant milestone in the contstruction of the Center for Women Women and Children’s Health.

Delaware Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, one of several government leaders who attended Wednesday’s topping out, said the center is “just one piece of Christiana Care’s leadership in women’s and children’s health in Delaware … making sure mothers and children have the best care possible.”

Christiana Care has an exceptionally experienced maternity care team, delivering more than 6,000 babies a year, the highest volume of any health care provider in Delaware, and has Delaware’s only Level III neonatal intensive care unit at a delivering hospital.

Christiana Care already has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as the region’s only National Community Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

Additionally, Christiana Care has earned the Baby-Friendly™ designation by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative — a global program of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, for its commitment to the highest level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.

“This project is so much more than bricks and mortar,” said Chief Operating Officer Sharon Kurfuerst, Ed.D., OTR/L, FACHE, FAOTA, FABC. “It signals a transformation of women’s and children’s care at Christiana Care.”