Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando is a fully integrated pediatric healthcare facility designed to enhance the healthcare experience for children and their families. This seven-story, 633,000-square-foot freestanding pediatric specialty hospital was constructed on a 60-acre greenfield site in Orlando’s Medical City development. The 400,000-square-foot in-patient portion of the facility has 95 private patient rooms; an OR Suite with five operating rooms; two special procedures rooms; one IR room; an Imaging Department with MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, and two R/F rooms; full food-service facilities, lab, and pharmacy. The 200,000-square-foot clinic includes 85 exam rooms that support the Nemours physician staff practice, as well as an education center with conference facilities and a 225-seat auditorium. An onsite central energy plant, sized for the eventual build-out of the campus, provides mechanical services. A 900-car parking garage provides parking for staff and visitors. In keeping with the “Hospital in a Garden” design theme, the building incorporates a pair of roof gardens, as well as healing and discovery gardens, all featuring native Florida plants that reduce the amount of water and fertilizer required for ongoing maintenance of the grounds. The goal was to have as much of the gardens established as possible —looking like they had been there for years—on opening day.
The first phase of installing landscaping started almost immediately upon project award. This phase included seeding approximately 33 acres of the site with native grasses, which require three to five growing seasons to become fully established. By focusing on installing the site infrastructure (storm and sanitary sewer mains, primary electrical duct bank, and site water mains) in the outparcels that were to receive the native seeding material, the team was able to provide three growing seasons for most of the material. In addition, the construction of the retaining walls and the surrounding grading was accelerated in order to plant the creeping fig vines early enough to cover the walls on opening day.