NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The new Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters facility Hampton Roads parents have been asking for is finally here.

The new 14-story Children’s Pavilion, which will be home to the mental health hospital, opened Monday for mental health outpatient services and a general pediatrics practice. Sports medicine will start seeing patients there on Thursday.

We caught up with one of the first families inside.

“It wasn’t what I expected — it’s a lot better,” Brandy Byres said.

The Byrnes family loved the bright colors and even brighter smiles.

“The environment was very friendly the people were outgoing and went out of their way to help you and just organized,” she said.

Two-month-old Emily Byrnes had a regular pediatrician appointment on the fourth floor Monday, but what many parents are excited about is the expanded mental health services opening on the upper floors.

Parents have been asking for these services. Vice Chief of Mental Health, Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason is excited about the much-needed expansion.

“The challenges that people have been facing over the last two years and beyond are coming to the surface. We’re really excited that CHKD is committed to growing our services at a time when they are so desperately needed,” she said.

Everything in the new facility is intentional, including the expansive views of Norfolk and the river through wall-sized windows.

“The view is incredible and it was intentional that children with mental health concerns are on the highest floors and getting the best views, Gleason said. “It sends the message that you are valued.”

Gleason is also excited about the playroom where children can go while parents sign paperwork or sit in the waiting room and the specialized therapy space next to it.

“So really excited about the one-way mirror. It allows the therapist to be talking to the parent in a little microphone so we can coach in real life while parents and children are interacting,” she explained.

The facility will begin to fill a gaping hole in mental health services for children. New patients are waiting several months to be seen. Gleason agrees with parents that the wait is not acceptable. Gleason wants them to know CHKD is working on it.

“For example, three years ago there was one child psychiatrist here at CHKD. We’re up to 14 and have more coming this summer,” she told WAVY.

The facility’s 60 inpatient beds will begin opening up later this year along with intensive day therapies and after-school sessions.

It’s full-spectrum care for the thousands who need it now. The Byrnes family hopes they won’t need it in the future, but take comfort knowing it’s there.

“It’s nice to know that it’s there.” father Scotty Byrnes said.

The community has raised $65 million toward this project through the Lighting the Way campaign exceeding a preliminary goal.

The hospital has now elevated the goal to $75 million to meet the increased mental health needs that arose during the pandemic.