Hundreds of people attended the ribbon cutting at the hospital's new location in the Streeterville neighborhood. The new name is in recognition of Ann Lurie's $100 million gift.
Patients will begin moving into the new, 23-story hospital, which is located on the downtown campus of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, on Saturday. The hospital cost $855 million and is the tallest children's hospital in the country.
Children's Memorial Hospital was located in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood for 130 years. Officials say it outgrew that location and in 2004 the board voted to build a new hospital.
To help make the transition fun and less stressful for patients, the hospital created a video about a stuffed animal named Buddy Bear and how the patients are on a mission to help get him to the new hospital.
"Think of it as an adventure instead of something that might be scary," said Rebecca Meyers, child life specialist, Children's Memorial Hospital.
Many patients have spent a long time at the Lincoln Park location and the transition may be difficult.
Gareth Everett, 4, has cystic fibrosis, a lung disease that can require intense lung clearing treatments for weeks. Children's has become a home away from home.
"He adjusts to change because that is what his life is, so he's adjusting to whatever they are saying," said Anne Everett, mother. "He thinks it's a mission so he is excited to complete a mission."
And it's been a huge mission for those who are going to make the move happen. Many of the children who will be transported are critically ill and in a fragile state. The move will require special equipment, perfect timing, and a gentle touch.
Dr. Ranna Rozenfeld, a medical transport specialist, has been planning this move for two years. In one day anywhere from 160 to 200 patients have to go from one center to the other.
"For infection control purposes those patients on chemotherapy and immune compromised and very sick, we want to get them out first so they are not around all the hustle and bustle," said Dr. Rozenfeld.
More than 21 ambulances will be lined up on the side of the hospital and ready to go this Saturday, starting at 6 a.m. For the next 14 to 18 hours one by one patients will be taken by ambulance down Fullerton to Lake Shore Drive to the new hospital on Chicago Avenue. For most of the day, Fullerton Avenue will be closed from Lincoln Avenue to Lake Shore Drive. But the Drive will remain open.
Isaiah Phillips will be one of the more critical babies traveling this Saturday. He was born with his heart outside his chest and recently had surgery. He's doing well snd after all they have been through, his parents are taking the move in stride.
"Not really nervous about it or anything," said Sandra Philips, mother. "We know we are in good hands."
One parent will be allowed to ride in the ambulance. Other family members can travel down Larabee in their own car with all of the child's belongings.
As of this Friday morning, Children's will not be taking any new trauma patients. They will be diverted to other pediatric trauma centers. Then on Saturday starting at 6 a.m. Lurie Children's Hospital will be fully operational and taking all patients, including ones from the Emergency Room.
The Champions of Lurie Children's, a half-hour special hosted by ABC7's Janet Davies and Jim Rose, will air on June 9 at 6 p.m.