Opening New Doors


UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital Unveils the Sebastian Ferrero Atrium

As a result of the Gainesville community’s passion and support of a shared vision to transform pediatric healthcare, UF Health unveiled the Sebastian Ferrero Atrium at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. The ribbon cutting ceremony included remarks from Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Florida (UF), and president of UF Health Dr. Guzick, UF Health Shands interim CEO Ed Jimenez, Department of Pediatric Chair Scott Rivkees, Tom Mitchell, UF Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs and Sebastian Ferrero Foundation Founders Horst and Luisa Ferrero following the unveiling of the donor recognition wall in honor of Sebastian Ferrero.

The Sebastian Ferrero Atrium and hospital exterior were designed by the architecture firm Ponikvar and Associates Inc. and built by Ajax Construction Inc. The new entrance to the Children’s Hospital has a colorful exterior, and the entrance features world-renowned artist Romero Britto’s “Tomorrow” sculpture, created in honor of the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation, which welcomes children and families into the Atrium.

The walls of the Sebastian Ferrero Atrium are decorated with vibrant art that leads you further into the atrium, toward the donor recognition wall, play areas for children and an interactive screen for children to enjoy.

The completion of the Sebastian Ferrero Atrium is a realization of a shared goal for the community, the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation and UF Health. Construction on the $11 million project began in April 2013, and this phase marks the halfway point for planned projects.

Dr. Guzick stated, “We share a common vision with the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation – a vision of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital as a destination of hope for the pediatric patients from our community, the state and the Southeast.

Currently, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital in north central Florida and treated more than 7,000 children throughout 2013. All completed renovations on the project include the pediatric emergency room, cancer unit, intensive care unit and congenital heart center.

Horst and Luisa Ferrero, founders of the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation, hoped the Foundation would serve as a catalyst for positive change in pediatric medical care. Seven years ago, the Ferreros lost their happy and healthy three-year-old son, Sebastian, to a series of presentable medical errors.

“As Sebastian’s parents, we are so proud of what is happening today; it is what we set out to accomplish in our son’s memory for the greater benefit of all children and their families. We thank UF Health and our supporters for their dedication as we unveil the opening of the Sebastian Ferrero Atrium,” said founders Horst and Luisa Ferrero. “We hope you will continue on this journey to continue to advocate and support on-going advancements in pediatric research, facilities and patient safety.”

Upcoming phases for the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital project include renovations the neonatal intensive care units and upgrades to the two pediatric medical/surgical units.

With support from the community, region and throughout the state of Florida, the Foundation will host its seventh annual Noche de Gala set for Saturday, October 25th. For event sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, visit Nochedegala.org.

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