If you have visited the Main Hospital recently, you may have noticed a giant structure of steel beams across the street, rising higher with each passing day. When it opens in 2015, there will be 15,294 tons of steel in the building, and CHOP will open the doors on the nation’s most state-of-the-art pediatric outpatient care facility: the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care.

As the 12-story Buerger Center takes shape, the flurry of construction has been generating interest from passersby, as well as little faces pressing their noses to South Tower windows or watching from the rooftop Sea Garden at Children’s Seashore House. Many of those curious patients will soon visit that building for their outpatient appointments — 200,000 each year. Everything about it has been designed for the ideal patient experience, emphasizing shorter and smoother visits and less stress. The center’s 2.6-acre outdoor plaza and 14,000-square-foot roof garden will offer plenty of room for play and relaxation. Five levels of underground parking for 1,500 vehicles will make it easier than ever to get to the Hospital. Electronic check-in and preregistration will mean shorter wait times. Waiting areas will be filled with natural light and dotted with “wait, play, learn” areas to distract patients and their siblings with educational toys and games.

Many of the clinics currently in the Wood Center and Children’s Seashore House will relocate to the 700,000-square-foot Buerger Center in 2015, to be joined by others in the years that follow. To provide a convenient trip for children who see multiple specialists in a single visit, clinics will share space, forming “neighborhoods” of related specialties. The center is built for collaboration too, among clinical staffs as well as with CHOP’s medical researchers working nearby. — Eugene Myers