Now, St. Luke’s will be able to treat children with complex illnesses in one place

You could call the new Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion at St. Luke’s one-stop-shopping for pediatric care.

When the four-story building, attached to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital by a new skybridge, opens the day after Labor Day, young patients with complex medical needs will see all of their medical providers in one building. The Children’s Pavilion incorporates 18 medical specialties and is expected to treat hundreds of children per day.

“The specialties range from general pediatrics for children coming in for a well-child check or immunizations to something that’s highly specialized like genetics,” Katie Apple, administrator of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, said Friday during a media tour. “We have ophthalmology, infectious disease, endocrinology, pulmonology, rheumatology.”

The $42 million building, with $5 million covered by the Idaho State Elks Association and $18 million from other community donations, is not a hospital. Instead, it’s a place where the young patients, from infants to 18-year-olds, can receive outpatient treatment for a large number of childhood maladies.

Now, youngsters and their families may spend all day shuffling from one St. Luke’s clinic to another. Some clinics are located on the main St. Luke’s Boise campus Downtown that includes the Children’s Hospital, while others are scattered. It means driving from place to place, parking and registering at each clinic before getting seen by another doctor.

One of the more obvious features of St. Luke’s Children’s latest addition is the skybridge that spans the two buildings’ fourth floor above Avenue B. Though it’s maybe not as obvious is the giant golden bear sculpture on the roof of the new Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion. Darin Oswald

“In this facility, they’ll be able to come in, check in at a centralized registration desk and then they’re checked in for the day,” Apple said.

Children can easily be admitted to the hospital across the skybridge, though Apple doesn’t expect that to happen often.

The building “also allows our clinical team to be much more collaborative,” Apple said. “The patient stays in one clinic room and our clinic team comes in and out. So they get to see all of their subspecialties in one day.”

The center provides rooms where families can do online research on the medical conditions their children are dealing with. There’s also a sibling care center for brothers and sisters while parents stay with the child being treated.

The Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion is designed to make a child’s visit to the doctor more fun. This scaled-down version of an RV is on the second floor. Darin Oswald

Each floor features different animals, birds and insects, plus a primary color and a theme meant to help families keep straight where they’ve received particular services.

The first floor, blue, has walls and elevators adorned with bears and bluebirds. The second floor, orange, has foxes and butterflies.

The first floor contains the check-in and central scheduling desks. It also includes a teaching kitchen, the sibling and family resource centers and a health and lifestyle learning center. Floor 2 has a general pediatric clinic. Floor 3 has a rehabilitation gym and a therapy team. Floor 4 has a gastrointestinal clinic and a surgery clinic.

The skybridge, on the fourth floor features steel girders and thick glass that will let children press their faces against it as they look north toward the Boise Foothills and south to other portions of the St. Luke’s campus.

A large mosaic mural filled with mountain-themed fun is located on the third floor of the new Idaho Elk’s Children’s Pavilion. Darin Oswald

It’s named the Bonnie Jackson Skybridge, after the late chief information officer for Capitol Distributing, Jackson Foods, Jackson Energy and Jackson Jet Center. The wife of Jacksons Food Stores CEO John Jackson, Bonnie Jackson died in 2017.

Floors 2, 3 and 4 have a long corridor with large windows looking out on the Foothills. The fourth floor includes two stand-mounted binoculars that allow patients and their families to get a closer view of the Foothills, nearby buildings and Fort Boise baseball and softball fields.

The fifth floor includes an atrium and a rooftop garden that’s still in planning. It will be known as the Velma Morrison Rooftop, after the Boise arts patron and namesake of the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, who died in 2013. She was the widow of industrialist Harry Morrison.

The pavilion includes two isolation rooms with separate ventilation systems. They could be used for treatment of someone with an infectious disease such as the measles. The patient could be isolated to ensure no one else was infected. A dedicated elevator could be used to bring the patient from the parking garage directly to an isolation room, bypassing the registration desk and keeping the person away from other patients and staff.

Katie Apple, system administrator for St. Luke’s Children’s, lists innovations offered at the Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion. Darin Oswald

St. Luke’s enlisted Boise’s Tradmark Design and Fabrication to create the whimsical artwork and interactive displays on each floor. In a nod to the Idaho State Elks Association, which has a long association with St. Luke’s, two metal elks stand outside the Children’s Pavilion entrance.

“One of the things we really wanted to do was to bring Idaho into the building and celebrate Idaho and all of the wonderful natural resources that we have,” Apple said. “It’s been a wonderful partnership to bring those elements to life.”

On the east end of the second floor, an elaborate light box features more than a dozen drawings of a fox against scenic backdrops from across Idaho. A sign asks visitors if they can name the vistas that include the Boise Depot, mountains, lakes and historic bridges.

“It’s one of my favorite pieces,” Trademark co-owner and art director John Yarnell said.

St. Luke’s Children’s has finished the Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion, a child-centric medical building with the goal of making a visit to specialist physicians easier and more for kids. The hospital is offering public tours Saturday and will open for patients on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Darin Oswald

Work on the Children’s Pavilion, which includes three floors of underground parking, began in 2016. It’s part of a large multiyear expansion project whose early years also include construction of a new central plant, parking garage, and shipping and receiving building. Later work includes a new hospital tower and upgrades to the Mountain States Tumor Institute, the children’s hospital and the current hospital tower.

Take a tour

You can see the Children’s Pavilion for yourself. A public open house will take place from 11 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m., followed by self-guided tours. The Children’s Pavilion is located at Avenue B and Jefferson Street.

Each floor of the new Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion is themed with animals and geography. The third floor features mountainous interactive furniture. Darin Oswald
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