NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The walls can’t go up fast enough on the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) 14-story mental health hospital. To give you an idea of how great the need is for such a facility, experts say one in every five kids has a mental health condition and there are currently 1,600 kids on the waiting list for care in Hampton Roads.
“This is going to change the care in Hampton Roads. We need it so badly; we need it now,” said Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, Vice Chief of the CHKD mental health program.
10 On Your Side was invited on a tour of the construction site Wednesday morning.
The tour started with the rooftop recreation area, which is as long as two and half basketball courts and will have a hoop, soccer turf, and a gardening area. It will sit on an elevated floor so kids can get fresh air and take in a spectacular view.
“Brings in all that natural light, hope and a natural uplifting environment,”said CHKD Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. Carl Petersen.
Every space is specifically designed with safety in mind. Each patient’s private room will have comfortable furniture, but it will be weighted so it can’t be tossed to break a window.
The bathroom, which we were told is the highest source of risk in a mental health facility, will have a light on the outside so nurses know if a patient has been inside too long. Even the simplest bathroom hook has been scrutinized. They are made of malleable rubber. “So you can’t hang something from it,” said Vice President Amy Sampson.
With 60 private rooms they expect to treat 2,500 inpatients a year and more than 40,000 outpatients.
The medical team is also building. Dr. Gleason said they will have 10 child psychologists here this summer.
The pieces are finally coming together for a scheduled opening in August of 2022.
CHKD is asking the community to open its hearts and wallets to help push the hospital to its fundraising goal. They need $10 million more to reach $60 million. They’ve already raised $50 million through donations from individuals, charitable foundations and other organizations.
For more information on how you can help go to their Lighting The Way campaign.