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Downtown VCU Health System expansion will include patient family housing, parking and community child care

Artist's rendering of the redevelopment project, showing office space and child care, The Doorways and Ronald McDonald House Charities. The redevelopment project will include space for VCU Health System offices and child care (glass-covered tower), The Doorways (white building) and Ronald McDonald House Charities (brick-colored building). Rendering courtesy of Capital City Partners.

A recent vote by the Richmond City Council to redevelop the city block currently occupied by the Public Safety Building at 510 N. 10th Street will bring vital new services to VCU Health’s downtown campus. The redevelopment will allow families and caregivers to stay closer to loved ones and increase parking.

“With the current construction of our new children’s tower and the adult outpatient pavilion, this expansion will provide urgently needed facilities and services for patients and their families, employees, students and visitors to downtown Richmond,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of VCU Health System.

Redevelopment highlights

Once completed, the redevelopment will include:

  • 125,000 square feet for 145 extended-stay guest rooms at The Doorways, a hospitality house providing lodging and support for hospital patients and loved ones who need to be close to the hospital
  • 65,000 square feet for 60 new Ronald McDonald House Charities guest rooms for families of children receiving medical care at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR)
  • 1,200 parking spaces to support programs housed in the complex
  • 250 physician-faculty office spaces for the adjacent VCU Medical Center adult outpatient pavilion
  • 35,000 square feet for a VCU Health-operated child care center
  • Retail pharmacy
  • Retail shopping and dining locations

“This partnership [VCU Health, The Doorways and Ronald McDonald House of Richmond] enables us to pool our talents and resources to better serve patients and their families from the Richmond area and beyond,” said Melinda Hancock, chief administrative and financial officer of the VCU Health System.

Community impact

Led by Capital City Partners LLC, the redevelopment project includes a commitment of 40% participation by minority-owned businesses during and after the construction phase.

In addition, VCU Health will offer 20% of available child care spots to Richmond families not affiliated with VCU or VCU Health System at their employee rate.

Bringing loved ones closer to encourage healing

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Richmond is located more than two miles away from the hospital and is short on space. In 2019, RMHC Richmond hosted families for 2,240 nights of care from 86 counties in Virginia, 22 states across the country and five countries and territories around the world.

“Ronald McDonald House of Richmond Charities has a deep history of supporting CHoR and our families. From the house, rooms in the hospital and specialized programs like our sibling center and meal programs — we simply could not provide the level of care and patient/family experience that we do — without their support,” said Elias Neujahr, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. “We’re excited that they can grow alongside us as we expand care to more families with our new children’s tower opening in spring 2023.”

The Doorways is one of the largest hospital hospitality houses in the nation – the largest that operates primarily on donations. Annually, it provides over 50,000 nights of lodging to about 10,000 children, adults, and veterans. In 2020, over half of its stays were for longer than a month, helping guests access lifesaving and life-changing medical care. Many of these guests were patients undergoing organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, and cancer treatments.

“The Doorways is an outstanding partner and community resource, allowing patients and their families – who may travel great distances for our care — a feeling of comfort when they need it most,” said Dr. Marlon Levy, chair of the Division of Transplant Surgery and director of the Hume-Lee Transplant Center. “You always want to pair outstanding clinical care with a comfortable environment and emotional support only families and friends can provide for the best possible outcomes before, during and after a life-changing organ transplant.”

The organization’s current building at the 600 block of East Marshall Street is close to 60 years old and in need of frequent maintenance that reduces guest capacity. The new facility promises to greatly expand program and service delivery with seamless and easy access to VCU Health.