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by Betty Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), October 6, 2014 - The Shriners Hospitals for Children & The Grand Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Missouri held a Cornerstone Ceremony, October 5, to bless and consecrate the cornerstone of the new Shriners Hospitals for Children, located at 4400 Clayton Avenue in the Central West End.
Under bright blue skies, Shriners officials and several hundred guests gathered at the hospital to watch the Grand Lodge of Missouri perform the unique, sacred and rarely seen ceremony. Patients and their families sat under a large white tent set up east of the stage, in view of the large cornerstone.
Prior to the consecration, Katie Ladie, national patient ambassador, enthusiastically explained why this was such a special day in her life.
"I am so very proud to be a part of today's ceremony and to have the opportunity to represent the thousands of Shriners patients all around the world," began Ladie.
She confided that as a patient, the cornerstone really missed the mark for being the important part of the building. "In my opinion, the most significant part of this building is the sliding glass doors when you enter the hospital", she said with a big smile.
Katie (age 15), who has been a patient of the St. Louis Shriners Hospital since she was two, noted that when she entered through the glass doors, she was filled with hope and expectations that when she exited through the glass doors, her life and situation was going to be better.
"It was through those glass doors, that I received care from the top doctors and nurses in the country enabling me to do everything I wanted to do," she continued, as the wind fluttered her notes and playfully tossed her hair.
Laughing and brushing her hair aside, Katie said that over the years, her confidence and potential has grown. "It is through those sliding glass doors, thousands of kids, just like me, have found their own new beginning," she continued.
Pausing for a moment, she proudly announced that the new hospital will have sliding glass doors in front, giving thousands of kids in the future that same hope and optimism that she felt.
In conclusion, Katie acknowledged that without a strong and true cornerstone, the walls of the building would not be supported and the sliding glass doors wouldn't open. "At the Shriner's Hospital for Children, the true cornerstones are the Shriners themselves."
As builders, the Freemasons have historically performed ceremonies at the laying of cornerstones for new buildings - such as courthouses, public schools and more. The concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
Over time, the cornerstone has become a symbolic masonry stone set in a prominent location on the outside of a building. The new cornerstone will be placed at the northeast corner, near the sliding glass doors.
When the Shriners Hospitals for Children - St. Louis opens it sliding glass doors in 2015, the facility will include 12 inpatient beds, three surgical suites, and 18 clinic examination rooms. It will also feature enhanced space for its clinical research center for metabolic bone diseases and more room for same-day surgery patients.
Other additions to benefit patients are nine rooms for outpatient family housing, a state of the art interactive and educational activity area and dedicated space for collaborative research with Washington University scientists.
"We expect this replacement hospital will provide the nation's leading providers of pediatric orthopaedic care an ideal place to care for their patients, conduct their research, and educate the surgeons of the future," said John Gloss, administrator. "Ultimately, we want this facility to help us continue to attract the best and brightest physicians and clinic staff in pediatric care, in providing state-of-the-art care efficiently, with a keen eye toward quality, patient safety and patient satisfaction."
The Shriners Hospitals for Children® is a health care network of 22 hospitals dedicated to transforming the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients' ability to pay.
The $47 million, 90,000-square-foot replacement hospital is located on 3.75 acres, just east of the Shriners' original facility, which opened in 1924 at the corner of Euclid and Clayton.
The move is expected to further enhance clinical care and research collaborations with Washington University School of Medicine, with which Shriners has had a long-standing partnership since the early 1920s. Most of the hospital's medical staff - 57 physicians, including Chief of Staff Perry L. Schoenecker, M.D. - are Washington University faculty physicians.
"The closer Shriners Hospital is to the resources of not only Washington University School of Medicine but also St. Louis Children's Hospital as well other BJC facilities and services, the more effective we can be in providing care to our children and more fully collaborate in the research and education that is the hallmark of the medical center," said Ted Dearing, chairman of the hospital's Board of Governors.
Architectural firm Christner designed the facility and S. M. Wilson & Co. was retained as the construction management firm.
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