Six years have brought significant growth to Children’s Mercy East, with the medical center seeing a first year’s 24,000 visits grow to a steady 76,000 per year. In response, the hospital has announced plans to renovate the first floor of their operation, providing much-needed space for the children and staff.

Cheryl Melton, director of Children’s Mercy East, said executives anticipated the growth when the building was constructed, however the speed in which the renovation has become necessary was a surprise.

“We already knew we were going to expand over the course of time. We kind of already had that grand plan; we just didn’t know we were going to have to expand so quickly,” she said.

Children’s Mercy East currently operates under a shared space, as Melton described it, with only one patient-care area, the speciality clinics and urgent care operating in the same space. Once the renovation of the first floor is completed, Urgent Care will move there, and the second floor will be dedicated to speciality clinics.

The new first floor will feature 21 urgent care exam rooms, with two large procedure rooms, and specialized doors for transporting patients in an emergency. With more space, the second floor will have 20 exam rooms dedicated to specialty care and expanded clinic hours, which means less wait time for families.

The total project cost is stated to be $5 million. Melton, along with hospital board member Tom Weir, confirmed the faciluty has also received a Mabee Foundation grant, which will contribute $1 million if Children’s Mercy can raise the rest of the funds by Oct. 1. Melton said they are approximately $800,000 from their goal.

“We are very lucky the Eastern Jackson County community has embraced us,” she said. “We’re very optimistic they will continue to do so.”