The pediatric specialty clinics at New Hanover Regional Medical Center are moving to an Autumn Hall office building this year.
Currently based in the Betty H. Cameron Women's & Children's Hospital at NHRMC's main campus on South 17th Street, the Nunnelee Pediatric Specialty Clinics will occupy the second floor of the building at 510 Carolina Bay Drive off Eastwood Road in Autumn Hall, expanding from 8,500 square feet of space to just under 20,000 square feet.
"We have outgrown our space. So right now we have 13 exam rooms, and I've worked really hard to sort of shoehorn in as many pediatric specialists and as many patients as I possibly can, and we just finally had to say, 'There's no more room at the inn,'" said Vanessa Van Gilder, manager of the Nunnelee clinics.
The clinics see patients from 12 counties, logging 27,000 visits in the fiscal year that ended in September. That's compared to 3,600 visits the clinics had in 2008, when the Women's & Children's Hospital opened its doors.
Van Gilder said the move will give more children more access to care and cut down on wait times that for certain specialties were growing to more than three months for new patients. The larger space will mean the clinics can have 39 exam rooms instead of just 13, and they'll hire additional full-time providers in major specialties, including pediatric gastroenterology, endocrinology and surgery.
"When we open, we're going to open with a pediatric cardiologist and then very quickly, probably by the end of 2017, we'll have a second cardiologist. So we're increasing the number of pediatric specialists that we have, which therefore is going to increase the number of children that do not have to travel to Duke or Chapel Hill or Greenville for pediatric specialty care," Van Gilder said.
The current plan is to open the clinics in their new space on June 12, Van Gilder said. The design of the new space, which will have a nautical theme, aims to help decrease a child's anxiety while also encouraging physical activity with an inclusive interactive wall and floor. LS3P is the architectural firm in charge of the design, and the projected construction cost is $3.1 million, including furniture, medical and IT equipment.
Half of the first floor of the building at 510 Carolina Bay Drive is occupied by Glen Meade Center for Women's Health, part of the NHRMC Physician Group. NHRMC leases the building.
The Pediatric Infusion Program at NHRMC, which provides IV infusion for children who require treatment and management of acute or chronic conditions, will remain at the Women's & Children's Hospital, Van Gilder said.
Editor's note: This version corrects the spelling of Vanessa Van Gilder's last name.