What's inside the $2.5 million room under construction at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Posted at 12:42 PM, Jun 14, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. — Leaders from the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU gave CBS 6 a behind-the-scenes look at a new $2.5 million “Child Life Zone” currently under construction.

Located on the Sky Lobby of the Children’s Tower in Downtown Richmond, the 3,000-square-foot area will have areas for patients to watch movies, play video games, complete art projects, make music, and enjoy snacks.

Similar to the Children’s Tower, the design and décor of the Child Life Zone will reflect the Central Virginia area, including an interactive water table to resemble the James River and a clubhouse built like an American Indian longhouse, according to a press release.

The hospital’s childlife supervisor, Bethany Fisackerly, said The Zone is designed to give young patients an escape from their current reality.

“Having the space doesn't change the fact that they're having to deal with things that we would not want children to ever have to deal with. But if for 10 minutes, for 30 minutes, or an hour, we can give them an opportunity to step outside of that and just be kids to find themselves again,” Fisackerly said.

This innovative space is being designed and built in collaboration with the Teammates for Kids Foundation, founded by country music star Garth Brooks.

“We're really fortunate that they saw such great value in partnering with Children's Hospital of Richmond. So we are going to open this space in at the end of the summer, and are just super excited about the ways that we can make the hospital feel more like a place that a kid can be a kid and not a place that scary or anxious with all the things that they're coming to us for,” explained Lauren Moore, Children’s Hospital Foundation president and CEO.

The project is funded by individual and corporate donations, including an anonymous lead gift of $2 million.

“There's no limit to the number of patients who are going to benefit from this space,” Fisackerly stated.

When complete, The Zone in Richmond will join 14 others across the country including in Atlanta, New York City, and Los Angeles.

The space will be managed by a team of certified child life specialists. These professionals are dedicated to helping children and families navigate medical challenges through play, education, and self-expression, according to a press release.

To meet the funding goals of the Child Life Zone, the gift was bolstered by a $300,000 donation from Meta, along with $185,000 from the 7th Annual Words & Wisdom event.

In addition to the $2 million contribution, Meta's $300,000 pledge will help in building out the maker space, teen lounge area and gaming pod.

For more information or to give to Children’s Hospital Foundation, click here.

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