Government leaders, corporate executives and even young children joined in ground breaking events today for a state-of-the-art medical facility designed to serve women and children in the East Valley. The project is a partnership between Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems, and Phoenix Children’s, Arizona’s only nationally recognized pediatric hospital.

Called the Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, the five-story 373,947 square-foot building will be located on the Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center campus in Gilbert, Ariz. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

Helping with today’s ceremonial event were children of all ages who grabbed miniature shovels to till the first soil on the construction site. All the participating children were either born at Mercy Gilbert or had been cared for at Phoenix Children’s.

The Women’s and Children’s Pavilion will include 24 labor and delivery rooms — including six dedicated to high-risk patients – and 48 post-partum beds, operated by Mercy Gilbert. It will also include an emergency department dedicated to obstetrics. Phoenix Children’s will operate 48 pediatric beds, a 12-bed pediatric emergency department, pediatric operating rooms and a new 60-bed Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The new facility is a strategic expansion of the long-standing partnership between Phoenix Children’s and Dignity Health aimed at bringing together the state’s top experts for both women and children. That partnership included Phoenix Children’s opening a 22-bed unit inside Mercy Gilbert in 2014.

“Since we first brought our strengths together, Phoenix Children’s and Dignity Health have become a tremendous force in the care of children and women in this country,” says Linda Hunt, president and CEO of the Dignity Health Arizona Service Area. “This pavilion is an extension of those initial efforts and will mean better care for families in this rapidly growing part of the greater Phoenix area.”

Bob Meyer, President and CEO of Phoenix Children’s, continued, “The new women’s and children’s facility will be a home to many of Phoenix Children’s pediatric specialists and those looking to join the PCH family–many of whom live here in the East Valley. We are thrilled to work closely with our partners at Dignity Health and bring vital services to our patients’ families, right here in their backyard.”

Dignity Health and Phoenix Children’s have worked together to improve access to high quality care since 2011.

Both systems participate in the Arizona Care Network, an affordable care organization with more than 5,000 clinicians, and most recently, Arizona Mother-Baby Care. Arizona Mother-Baby Care provides personalized care coordination by connecting patients to the best specialists and caregivers. Many of these specialists within the Arizona Mother-Baby Care network will soon be located together in the new East Valley facility.

In addition, and in coordination with the Arizona Care Network, Phoenix Children’s Care Network (PCCN), the state’s only clinically integrated pediatric network, includes more than 1,000 pediatric clinicians. The new facility will support the PCCN members in the East Valley.