Kathy and Joe Sanderson Children's of Mississippi Tower naming render

September CONSULT

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Children’s names pediatrics expansion for integral benefactors

Published on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

The seven-story Children’s of Mississippi expansion will open later this fall, more than doubling the square footage dedicated to pediatric care at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

This month, general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie completed work on the tower, which is named in honor of the couple whose philanthropy and leadership made it possible: Kathy and Joe Sanderson.

The Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi will join the Blair E. Batson Tower, named for UMMC’s first pediatrics chair, as integral parts of the state’s only children’s hospital.

Portrait of Dr. LouAnn Woodward

“There is no more fitting name for this children’s hospital expansion than the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs. “Without their leadership, generosity and care for the children and families of Mississippi, this expansion would still be on the drawing board.”

Seeing the expansion go from a need to an actual tower has been gratifying, said Joe Sanderson, CEO and board chairman of Sanderson Farms, a Fortune 1000 company headquartered in Laurel. The company has been title sponsor of the Sanderson Farms Championship, which has raised more than $7.6 million to benefit the children’s hospital since 2013.

“We know the importance of the children’s hospital to the families of Mississippi, and we knew the need for an expansion,” Sanderson said. “This expansion will ensure better outcomes for children, but also better research now and research that hasn’t even been thought of yet.

“It will bring more doctors to the state, and more jobs.”

Portrait of Joe-and-Kathy-Sanderson.jpg
Joe and Kathy Sanderson

In 2016, the Sandersons launched the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, a $100 million drive to fund the expansion. Starting with the couple’s $10 million personal gift, the campaign has raised more than $83 million through August 2020.

With the two-year construction project completed, the transition process of putting the expansion to work now begins.

Portrait of Guy Giesecke.jpg

“While the expansion has been under construction, so have plans for a smooth transition into this tower,” said Dr. Guy Giesecke, Children’s of Mississippi CEO. “We’re working to make the process smooth for our medical team and our patients and their families.”

The tower includes 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, allowing parents to stay with their babies as the little ones grow stronger.

A dozen state-of-the-art surgical suites and 32 private pediatric intensive care rooms will be at the ready for life-saving procedures and recoveries. The Children’s Heart Center will call the expansion home, putting pediatric cardiology care in one location.

A pediatric imaging center, new to Mississippi, will offer MRI and CT scans with machines that look more like ships and sandcastles than medical equipment.

The Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower features a spacious lobby, shown in this architectural rendering.

The tower will also include an outpatient specialty clinic that, along with the Eli Manning Clinics for Children, will provide the expert care patients need to thrive. Included in the tower will be clinic areas for pulmonology, complex care, endocrinology, psychology, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery and heart transplant.

A 517-space parking garage is located near the hospital entrance off Woodrow Wilson Avenue for convenient access to the Sanderson and Batson Towers.

Hospitality is designed into the new tower. The lobby will have a gift shop, a grab-and-go coffee shop and a chapel. NICU and PICU floors will have family rooms with kitchenettes and washers and dryers to help parents feel more at home while their children are in the hospital.

Portrait of Mary Taylor.jpg

The $180 million tower will transform pediatric care in the state, said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair and professor and chair of pediatrics.

“Our medical team will soon have a children’s hospital that matches their expertise,” Taylor said. “We’ll soon be providing world-class care close to home in a bright and spacious expansion built with families in mind.”

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