To be built on the hospital's Adele Hall Campus in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, the institute will be housed in a nine-story structure comprising approximately 375,000 square feet — nearly six times more space than is currently dedicated to pediatric research at Children's Mercy. The combined gift — the largest one-time gift ever made to a children's hospital for pediatric research — also will enable Children's Mercy to accelerate the recruitment of top researchers from around the globe and expand its research enterprise tenfold.
Scheduled to be completed in 2020, the new facility will include more than 3,000 linear feet of bench space for research, 140,000 square feet of shell space for future growth, and a four-hundred seat auditorium. The 5,514 panes of glass (enough to cover two football fields) incorporated into the building's exterior will include several differently colored panels meant to represent the genetic anomalies found in children with the rare diseases for which the institute hopes to find treatments and cures.
"The Hall Family Foundation has believed in and supported the mission and work of Children's Mercy, one of the city's crown jewels, for a long time," said Margaret Hall Pence, a board member of the Hall Family Foundation, whose support for the hospital includes a $75 million pledge made jointly with the Hall family in 2013 that was contingent on adoption of a sales tax that voters struck down, the Kansas City Star reports. "It is our sincere honor to be able to make this level of commitment to further pediatric medical research, which is too often underfunded. In fact, the continued well-being of all children depends on private investment in scientific discovery, and we are so pleased the Sunderland family has joined us in making this important work possible."
"We have an opportunity to change the lives of children by conducting research that will create more understanding and deliver cures or diagnostics that go beyond the individual patient," said Tom Curran, chief science officer at Children's Mercy, executive director of the Children's Research Institute, and the Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research. "So, in a sense, by treating one child here at Children's Mercy, we may impact thousands elsewhere. By learning from our patients, particularly those whose needs are not being met by the existing standard of care, we will constantly strive to move medicine forward. We owe it to our children to be the best, and to provide access to the latest science and technology."
(Photo credit: Children's Mercy KC)