The new children’s hospital at the Medical University of South Carolina received a $25 million pledge from Shawn Jenkins, a founder and CEO of Benefitfocus.
It is the largest private donation MUSC has ever received. The new $350 million hospital will be named the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. The facility will also include a separate women’s pavilion for maternal-fetal medicine.
“We’re humbled. We’re honored to be able to partner with you to build this hospital,” Jenkins told the MUSC Board of Trustees at its meeting Thursday. “Let’s build this thing.”
Jenkins said his wife and children have been longtime supporters of the hospital, ever since his daughter Olivia became a patient there nearly 20 years ago when she was 2 months old.
“My income at the time was about $18,000 a year,” he said. “We had an incredible outcome. It left such an impression on me, my family.”
The new hospital is expected to open in 2019 on the corner of Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive. It will replace the existing 28-year-old MUSC Children’s Hospital on Ashley Avenue.
Jenkins said he recently toured the old hospital several times and became convinced that it needs more space and new equipment.
“The Children’s Hospital staff, the physicians, the nurses, the volunteers — just beautiful people. They’re hugging you and families are in there. It’s such a great environment, but there’s not enough physical room,” he said. “And the equipment, the technology in medicine, as you can imagine, has advanced so much since the mid-’80s when the current building was built.”
The new hospital, designed by architecture firm Perkins+Will, will include several private rooms for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The existing NICU offers little space for parents to visit their sick babies.
Square footage in other inpatient rooms for children will grow by 80 percent. Rooms in the current children’s hospital are too small to suit families who need to stay for long stretches, hospital administrators say.
MUSC needs to raise at least $50 million in private donations to cover part of the cost of the hospital. The $25 million pledge from Jenkins puts the donation total just above $40 million, said Jim Fisher, MUSC’s vice president for development.
“It’s been a team effort,” Fisher said.
Jenkins isn’t the only big name throwing his support behind the new building.
Darius Rucker donated $265,000 to the project at a benefit concert he hosted earlier this year. Rucker and his wife, Beth, were named honorary fundraising chairs for the new hospital campaign.
Boeing, one of the largest employers in the Charleston region, announced a $5 million donation for the hospital in December.
Hospital leaders are looking for state support, too.
The S.C. House of Representatives passed its version of the state budget with $25 million in the capital reserve fund for the new hospital.
A final version of the budget must be approved by the state Senate and Gov. Nikki Haley. The rest of the cost for the new hospital will be primarily financed with federal loans.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.