Sights set on $73M children's facility
Shriners Hospital kicks off fundraising campaign
AFTER GIVING to Hawaii's community for 84 years, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu needs the public's help.
Officials unveiled plans yesterday to rebuild the charity hospital at a cost of $73 million, eliminating the restrictions and costs of updating the current building, which was built on Punahou Street in 1967.
"It's time. It needs to be taken down and rebuilt," said Ralph Semb, chairman of the Shriners Hospital for Children board of trustees.
Construction is expected to begin Aug. 7, with a completion date of June 2010. Under the capital campaign, officials hope to raise $14 million on Oahu.
"It's a big day for Shriners," said Allan Dowsett, co-chairman of the capital campaign committee. Dowsett's grandfather gave Shriners the land to open a children's hospital for perpetuity, said Dowsett, who is also president of the Blue Print Co.
"Our family is absolutely thrilled," he said. "We want to see it stay here forever."
The Shriners hospital opened in 1923, the second in the nation. Today, the Shriners operate 22 international hospitals, including 18 orthopedic hospitals and four burn-care units, serving children under 18 at no cost.
An artist's rendering of the new Shriners Hospital is shown. CLICK FOR LARGE
Board Chairman Semb said Shriners had to ask for the public's help in rebuilding the hospital because of rising medical costs. Shriners will provide $50 million for the construction, he said. The remainder of the funds will be raised on other Hawaiian islands and in the Pacific Rim.
"We want to make sure your grandchildren have the opportunity" to use Shriners, Semb said.
He expects the operating budget to increase by 25 percent to about $20 million annually after the expansion. The Shriners endowment will cover the added expenses, he said.
"The results that we will see are well worth it," he said.
The hospital, which has about 7,000 active patients, will remain open during the renovation, using a 400-square-foot mobile unit, equipped with 10 inpatient beds. No one will be laid off during the construction, officials said.
The hospital also has an agreement with Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children to use its beds, said Oswald Stender, co-chairman of the capital campaign committee.
The new hospital is to have three buildings, including a two-story main hospital and 24 inpatient beds, officials said. A family quarters building will house 20 beds, allowing patients to stay with family at no charge. The third building will house administration offices.
For questions or to contribute, call Iwalani Dayton, director of development for Shriners Hospitals for Children-Honolulu, at 951-3609.
Haroon Aiyaz Ali was visiting Shriners from Fiji yesterday with his 2-year-old daughter. They stayed at a Shriners dorm for one month and were expected to stay for another two months to complete a hip treatment, lengthening one of his daughter Nabeha Naz's legs.
Ali praised the renovations. "It's good," he said. "People like us, they're helping. The poor people, some of their children might not have the opportunity."