As population continues to boom in North Texas, the expansion of Children’s Medical Center in Plano will triple the hospital’s number of beds while greatly expanding treatment options across the board. Construction on the hospital’s new 395,000-square-foot tower began in 2020 and will be complete later this year.

Graham Torres, Children’s Health vice president of facilities operations of the northern market, said the expansion will have a “profound impact” in meeting the needs of the region.

“We’re growing with the community to ensure that we have the clinical capabilities to continue to provide what the community needs as it continues to grow,” he said. “The profound impact that has probably can’t be overstated.”

The overview

Children’s Medical Center’s new tower will do more than just triple the facility’s bed count, Torres said. The 212 beds, up from 72, will also be able to accommodate patients who need more extensive or specialized care.

The hospital is currently designated as a Level IV Trauma Center, but has been operating as a more-extensive Level III center for the last 18 months, said Vanessa Walls, Children’s Health chief market executive of the northern market.

Walls said she expects the facility to get certified as a Level III facility this summer, and it will start operating as a Level II facility when the new tower opens, with the goal of being recertified in 2026.

The hospital will also add the following specialty care programs:
  • Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
  • The Heart Center
  • Gastroenterology
  • Surgical Services
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonology
Construction is set to finish in the third quarter of this year, with plans to open the new tower by the end of the year, Torres said.

The project has stayed on track since it was originally planned in 2019, and Torres said patient feedback played a huge role in the process.

“Parts of the room are there because they made the recommendation,” he said. “It makes me really excited for this to come online and to be available for our community, because it was designed by them.”

The cause

Collin County’s population grew by more than 15% from 2017-22 while the growth of residents under 19 grew nearly 12% during that time, according to U.S. Census data. Children’s Medical Center has felt that growth, seeing a 27% increase in demand for emergency room use since 2012, a hospital representative said.

Plano Mayor John Muns said the new tower will provide specialized care in residents “backyard” that they would have needed to travel to Dallas for previously.

“Plano was ready for this 15 years ago,” he said. “What this new tower does is, really make every healthcare amenity and resource available right here in Plano. It’s a huge relief for those families, and we’re so honored to have Children’s here.”

Looking forward

Children’s Medical Center’s new tower was designed to accommodate the region’s needs well into the future, Walls said.

“We’re planning for the next 20 years, not just the next five,” she said. “We need to be a little more forward-thinking than that.”

Walls said the new tower will be built with the capacity to provide specialty treatments that the hospital doesn’t plan on providing immediately, such as dialysis, so the hospital’s services can continue to grow into the new space. She added that all of the new beds will be licensed as universal beds, so they can be adapted based on patient needs.

The ultimate goal, Walls said, is for Children’s Medical Center in Plano to become a “hub” for pediatric medicine in the area.

“What we’re growing at Plano—it’ll be a hub for this area just like Children’s is in Dallas,” she said.•