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Posted on Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

'It's not a scary place to go': Families tour the new C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

By Kellie Woodhouse

See previous coverage:

With gallery: C.S. Mott's legacy: Philanthropist 'would not be disappointed' by U-M's new children's hospital

A look inside the University of Michigan's new Mott Children's and Women's Hospital for the first time

As Amber Parker toured the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, her daughter was hooked up to an oxygen tube 800 feet away on the sixth floor of the current Mott facility.

Six-month-old Avery Parker has spina bifita. Due to the disorder, Avery has an abnormal amount of pressure on her brain stem.

Avery spent the first five weeks of her life at Mott’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Because of complications with her disorder, Avery is back at Mott and her doctors are contemplating surgery.

If surgery is inevitable, Parker hopes it will take place in University of Michigan's new $754 million, 1.1 million-square-foot children's hospital, where her fragile daughter could benefit from one of 16 state-of-the-art operating rooms and one of 348 single-occupancy rooms.

Parker toured the new facility, which opens Dec. 4, during a public open house on Sunday.

“This is going to be awesome,” Parker said of the new facility. “There’s not going to be any interruption between you and your child.”

That’s a stark difference from the current 42-year-old Mott facility, where Avery shared a large room with several other sick infants, her only privacy a curtain.

“There was no privacy. It was hard to nurse,” Parker said of those first five weeks at Mott. Parker spent most nights with her daughter, sleeping in a chair that wouldn’t recline.

“They’re like tiny little cubicles,” Parker said of the space. “It’s depressing, it’s like a shoe box.”

Each patient at the new Mott facility, from newborns to sick toddlers to birthing mothers, will have his or her own room, following an industry-wide trend that is reported to improve patient outcomes and comfort. The new rooms have large windows, couches, recliners, computers and flat-screen TVs.

“It was too crowded. There was no chance for rest. People were in and out,” recalls Missy Davert, whose two children have a brittle bone condition that requires constant surgeries and hospitalization. During a recent stay, her 13-year-old daughter shared a room with two other children. “We had as many as five, six parents in the room at the same time.”

The new 12-story hospital, located at East Medical Center Drive, spans the length of two football fields. It increases capacity by 75 percent, which makes Mott the largest of Michigan’s three children’s hospitals.

“It’s not a scary place to go,” said Kelly Patrick, who gave birth to her daughter Annie at Mott last year.

“It’s shinier, more comfortable and a little more open,” she continued. “It’s just a lot brighter.”

That brightness is intentional.

The facility is decorated with an eye toward children, hospital officials say. Fluttering butterfly sculptures and building blocks adorn the main entry area, patient artwork is displayed throughout nearly every corridor and furniture is upholstered in bright reds and yellows.

“A long time ago it was only about function,” said Sachi Turnbull, who helped choose the furnishings for the new facility. “But now they realize that when families do stay, it’s not just parents, but grandparents. It’s not just a night stay, but many times it’s months and months. It’s about comfort.”

And all of Mott’s trimmings —a football-themed playroom, room nameplates that patients can decorate, windows with sweeping views of Nichols Arboretum— are intended to make it a little easier on families and patients dealing with very serious illnesses.

“You never want to come here, you have to come here,” Davert said. “But if you have to do come, this is the best place.”

She continued: “I’ve been to a lot of hospitals and none of them compare to this new facility.”

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:27 a.m.

I thought the facility was really beautiful with wide open spaces and lots of light and freedom of access. I do have some small criticisms of the open house. While I basically loved the art, there were one or two installations of abstract paintings which resembled splashes of blood. One is rather strategically located at the end of the hallway between two other hallways leading to birthing rooms. I hope it can be exchanged for another piece. Another criticism is that the 5th and 6th floor were not open for viewing. These were the floors where the childrens' psychological clinics/behavioral treatment center and neurological unit is located. I would have appreciated a tour of the area to view the environment which will be dedicated to helping children with their emotional struggles. Another problem appeared to be that there is a long walk to get to the cafeteria in the main hospital. Hopefully, there will be some place to eat in the new facility. Otherwise, it seems to be a lovely place with gorgeous views.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

LOVED IT ... the rooms are spacious and the colors are awesome. Hope I can get a job there but UMHS is not calling. Only complaint: Where's the food? Being on the tour for two hours made me hungry and thristy. With the billions of dollars UMHS have, couldn't serve some refreshment or did I pass it?


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

Oh my goodness, I know! We ended up being onsite much longer than expected because of the length of waits for the elevators and we got thirsty and hungry (as did our toddlers). We would have been willing to *pay* for refreshments. After all, we had to pay for parking. ;)


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.

Looks great!


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

The new hospital is beautiful and the thought that went into it brought tears to my eyes when we walked in. Please forgive the part of me that says it's about time. Three years ago when my son fell ill we chose St. Joe's precisely because we knew that he would have a large private room. It was the same group of surgeons, regardless of location so there was no way that we were going to the impersonal, uncomfortable, dungeon like environment that was Mott's. We made a wise choice since we ended up being at St. Joe's for six weeks. The pleasant environment made an enormous difference in a difficult situation. Now we *have* to go to UM because we have a child with a condition that St. Joe's doesn't cover. I was dreading his upcoming hospitalization because I know from experience what a stay at Mott's is like. Maybe it's the huge scale of the institution that dehumanizes some of the staff's interactions with the families. I know that there are truly wonderful staff members and I know that there are amazing stories from Mott's. I thank God for them, I really do. But we've had many negative experiences. So many that we swore we'd never go back. Today was very reassuring, though. Even though the new hospital is enormous, it feels more human. All of that natural light does wonders for one's spirits. You'll be amazed at how healing privacy and quiet and space can be. Good riddance, little benches in cramped rooms. Good riddance, hard wooden rocking chairs. Thank heavens for finally FEEDING one of the parents. I'm no longer dreading our stay, except for the natural worry about my baby, of course. Congratulations on the new, beautiful hospital. It looks like you've done an amazing job. This mom and dad thanks you.

Anne Arbor

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

Why did you delete my comment? I was showing you that you had a typo in your article.---->"This is gong to be awesome," Parker said of the new facility. How is this violating conversation guidelines? If your going to delete my comment, atleast fix your article.

Nathan Bomey

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

@Anne Arbor, I just noticed that your comment was blocked by our weekend moderators without the typo being fixed. Our apologies for that. I have fixed the typo and restored your comment. Thanks for catching it. -- Nathan

Kai Petainen

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Before you look at the photos, check out this video of the moon setting over the hospital the other night. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Here are some select photos. Butterflies. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The Ross School of Business, Crisler Arena, and Michigan Stadium close to one another. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The seahorse <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> North campus <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Ann Arbor's Stonehenge. If you don't get my reference, look at the sunset photo. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Sunset: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Reflections <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (By request) Taken at the Ronald McDonald rooms, a 'before' photo of the adjacent new Fuller parking lot. The patients at the Ronald McDonald House will have a nice view of it. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Here are all the photos from the CS Mott visit. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Kai Petainen

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

and just after the sun set.... a timelapse of day turning to night at CS Mott <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Kai Petainen

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

Awesome Tour. Super nice facility. A few comments. Love the artwork. For those who complain about the lack of public art in Ann Arbor, CS Mott has a bunch. Beautiful stuff. Top 3 pieces: 1. The butterflies. The artist is known for butterflies made out of beercans. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> But this piece is unique in that: the pieces are made from arizona iced tea cans, and the butterflies are hinged so they can move in the breeze. This same artist has a butterfly piece at the Ross School of Business on the 3rd floor (at the Zell Lurie Institute) #2 and #3. John Schwarz. The frog and the seahorse. This artist is one of my favorites. He has a piece called the 'Reluctant Hero' at Ross (my favorite piece of art at Ross). <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> A question: The best view in the hospital, is on the 10/11/12th floors, overlooking the Huron River and the arb and facing sunrise. On the tour, we were unable to visit that location. Who gets that location? Patients (best answer), doctors or top administrators?

Kai Petainen

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:15 a.m.

Kara... that's awesome (about the floors). Thanks for answering my question. Very cool hospital... almost makes me want to have a baby.

Kara Gavin

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:48 a.m.

sorry, I meant to sign off as &quot;Public Relations, U-M Health System&quot;

Kara Gavin

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:48 a.m.

You can see what's on each floor by going to <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and clicking on the floor plan to see the different areas highlighted. The 10th floor has the dialysis unit, two ICUs, a pharmacy, the in-house Ronald McDonald House (to complement the one a block away that will also continue to serve families) and some family support space. The 11th floor has the Michigan Congenital Heart Center and inpatient rooms. The 12th floor has inpatient rooms, a Child Life play area, a gym for patients who need physical and occupational therapy, a school room and a diagnostics suite, as well as a general space that can be used for meetings and conferences. So the best views will indeed be had by patients! The building actually contains very few offices for physicians and administrators -- to maximize the room for patients and families and the clinical and support services that they turn to us for. Glad to see all the great comments about the tour! We'd appreciate any photos that people might want to share with us via the Mott Facebook page, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>!/mottchildren Kara Gavin


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

The kids and I toured it today, and it's gorgeous! I'm so very grateful that we were only touring today. Does anyone know how many people toured? It was very crowded -- it was awesome to see everyone admiring the new facility and showing their support!!


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Took the tour today and it is an amazing hospital. My children really enjoyed looking around - just hope this was the first and last visit to it!!!!

Anne Arbor

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:33 p.m.

"This is gong to be awesome," Parker said of the new facility. &lt;------Hmmmmmm


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

We are so lucky (to say the least) to live in Ann Arbor with these state of the art medical teams and facilites. Way to go fundraisers! Thank you!