Children’s Senior Vice President of Planning, Design and Construction Chris Chelette (in yellow) and honorary construction managers (from left) Lex, JoJo and Ariella-Faith prepare to update Arthur Blank on the new hospital.

Image courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

In 2017, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta unveiled plans for an expansion with the building of the new Arthur M. Blank Hospital in Brookhaven, Ga. The hospital wanted to ensure that design and construction plans included connecting with patients, their families, communities and employees in a meaningful way, leading Children’s to choose special partners to help in the construction process.

If anyone knows the importance of finding the right construction partners, it’s the actual Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot, for whom the hospital is named. He collaborated with the Children’s construction team to create the role of “Honorary Construction Manager” and appointed three pediatric patients to serve as representatives to provide him and the community with updates on the new building’s progress. 

The clinical teams identified three patients receiving lifesaving care from Children’s. The patients chosen were the charming and friendly Ariella-Faith (10), Lex (14) and Jojo (10).

Chris Chelette, vice president of planning, design and construction at Children’s, works closely with the young construction managers. He takes them on tours of the construction site and shares the latest updates and insights into building a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital. They ask questions and then share his answers and their comments on social media.

“The honorary construction managers enjoy getting exclusive access to what goes on behind the scenes of the hospital’s construction,” Chelette says. “They have been able to see many exciting activities on the project, including how the crane works, how the operating rooms were designed and the construction of the new helipads on the roof of the 19-story project.”

The hospital, scheduled to open in fall 2024, will replace Children’s Egleston Hospital and will have 446 beds, larger private rooms and more amenities for families.

“With the construction process captured on video and shared on Children’s social channels, our three honorary construction managers have helped us create excitement and awareness throughout the community while bringing fun and education,” Chelette says.