Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital added a new 230,000-square-foot building to its St. Petersburg campus that will help it advance research, education and clinical care.
The new Research and Education Building will house hospital staff and medical residents who will study brain development, pre-maturity in infants and cures for children with conditions like cancer and heart disease.
The hospital will focus on clinical and laboratory research to improve clinical trials for drug experimentation as well as boost cancer research.
The education side will provide new training opportunities for medical students, nurses and post-doctoral fellows. It will include a simulation center and various classrooms — allowing trainees to practice on high-tech mannequins in spaces that look like operating rooms, ambulances, and elevators.
“The hope is, the people we train will eventually become part of our workforce,” said Dr. Jonathan Ellen, president of the hospital.
More than 30 skilled employees are being hired to work in the new building in positions from IT support and maintenance to environmental services.
The hospital expects to hire another 40 plus medical-related employees to join about 300 who will transfer to the new building.
Ellen said the center will have an important role in the area's economy and efforts to create an innovative district in St. Petersburg.
“We also think it will serve as a hub for innovation for the district and for St. Petersburg and then like any other organization where you have a research engine, the research engine itself becomes an economic engine for the community,” said Ellen.
Funding for the $95 million facility, which took three years to build, came from donations, loans, and operational revenues. The money also paid for the building's innovative technology — high-tech mannequins, smartboards and the large biorepository freezer to hold blood and tissue samples.
Ellen says that although the freezer may sound simple, it’s actually very sophisticated and “will allow us to store over 3 million specimens from children and then be able to look back over time to see if we could find opportunities where we could've improved the care and then use that going forward.”
Additionally, the building houses an auditorium for gatherings and community meetings as well as the Peabody restaurant.