Inside Gillette Blog

Tons (and More Tons) of Concrete

Posted On: 03/31/2010

It’s an ever-changing scene over at the site of our new patient care building in St. Paul. In fact, it’s looking more and more like an actual building each day. That’s thanks to immense amounts of concrete, delivered truckload by truckload, then poured to create the beginnings of our building’s outer walls. Last week, crews poured our very first wall. But what a difference a week makes—we now have a tall cement wall directly against our hillside.

Margaret Perryman, our CEO, continues to excitedly monitor our progress. Take a look at this week’s photo, taken right from her office window:

And here is a close-up:

So far, we’ve used more than 1,150 cubic yards (just one cubic yard is the same as 4,200 pounds!) of concrete. But it’s a slow going process. To ensure the concrete dries with strength and stability, crews must pour just 4 feet per hour — starting at the ground level and steadily pouring higher and higher walls. 

In more exciting news, the first of our building’s steel beams should arrive next week. Be sure to check back often to see our building’s steel “skeleton” take shape.

Welcome to Gillette, Starlight Fun Center!

Posted On: 03/25/2010

When Gillette kids come to the hospital, they’ll have a brand new activity to pass the time and brighten their day.  And it’s all thanks to some very special friends.

The newest addition to our waiting room - a Starlight Fun Center.

What is a Starlight Fun Center, you ask? In a nutshell, it’s an entertainment unit that promises to bring hours and hours of fun to our patients, whether they’re waiting for a doctor appointment or staying here at the hospital after surgery or for inpatient therapy. Kids can use the Fun Center to play Nintendo Wii — there’s nearly 50 different games pre-loaded in the system — or can choose a DVD to pass the time. 

Best of all, the Fun Center doesn’t have to stay in just one place. While it’s usually located on our 4th floor lobby during the day, staff can move the unit to any of Gillette’s inpatient units for evenings and weekends.   

Our Fun Center’s been in our waiting room for about a month. Staff say it’s already a favorite activity for our kids! But until yesterday, we hadn’t had a chance to thank our generous friends from Cub Foods and Colgate Palmolive for donating the Fun Center to Gillette. So we held a special dedication ceremony to officially welcome the system — and thanked our visitors with a custom-made piece of patient artwork.

Keith Wyche, president of Cub Foods, cuts the ribbon on our new Fun Center with Gillette's Jon Galloway and Colgate's Jim Webb.

Gillette presented our Cub and Colgate visitors with child artwork to commemorate the great day.

Join Us for a Musical Evening – and Let Our Kids Inspire You

Posted On: 03/22/2010

Calling all music lovers!  Mark your calendar for Night of Inspiration, a concert benefiting Gillette, on Thursday April 8th.  You’ll enjoy a variety of musical styles and instruments – and throughout the evening, hear Gillette patient families tell their inspiring stories firsthand.  In return, we hope you’ll make a donation to Gillette, the only Children’s Miracle Network hospital in Minnesota. For more information, check out our e-flier:

Thanks to Miss Minnesota candidate Kathryn Knuttila and McNally Smith College of Music for hosting this special event. The date is fast-approaching, but there’s still plenty of room for you and your family. We hope to see you there!

Raising The Walls

Posted On: 03/21/2010

If you’ve been watching our live Webcam lately, you’ve probably noticed a lot of changes taking place on our hillside—or, more accurately, lack of hillside and beginnings of Gillette’s new patient care building.  Just two weeks ago, crews began pouring the concrete footings that will support our new building’s weight. But there’s a lot more to pour than just footings—every building needs, well, walls!  This week, we’ve seen our building’s very first concrete walls beginning to take shape.

Just Like Baking a Cake?

How do you create a wall from liquid concrete?  It’s kind of like baking a cake (except, a really heavy cake). First, you pour the cake batter into a pan. Then, you then stick the pan in the oven so the batter can set.

Of course, making concrete walls is a lot more complicated — but the basic idea is the same. Crews pour liquid concrete into temporary casings called forms. The forms remain in place while the concrete hardens into a sturdy wall.

Raising the Walls, Through the Lens of Our CEO

Take a look at these two photos from Gillette CEO Margaret Perryman to see how much can change in just a short amount of time.

Early Last Week:

On the left side of this picture, you’ll see forms in place—it’s almost time to pour the building’s first wall. The black stuff in the center of the picture is waterproofing.

 Later That Week:

Hello blue sky! It’s not just the weather that’s changed. Forms have been removed, revealing beginnings of a concrete wall. Waterproofing continues on the back wall, with concrete to follow in the weeks ahead.

Thank You, Gillette Supporters!

Posted On: 03/16/2010

We have exciting news to share.  Earlier this week, we received word that Governor Pawlenty had finished his review of the Capital Investment Bill.  As he had promised, he did exercise the line item veto to remove nearly $320 million in projects from the original $999 million bill.
However, the $10 million that was included for Gillette’s surgical expansion was not cut and was included in the final law.
This news will allow us to move forward with our much-needed surgery expansion later this year.  We know many of you took the time to write or call your state senators and representatives over the past few months urging their support.  And in just the past two weeks, hundreds of you wrote or called Governor Pawlenty to ask for his support.

Our expanded surgical suites will be large enough to accommodate the complex surgeries so many of our patients need. They’ll also feature state-of-the art equipment and the latest advancements in surgical technology.

Thanks to our patient families, staff, and community advocates for all you have done, and continue to do, to support Gillette. We’ll post news and updates on our surgical expansion here, so check back often.

One Final Push to Support Gillette

Posted On: 03/10/2010

As you may have heard in the media, the Minnesota Bonding Bill is scheduled to go to Governor Pawlenty as soon as today, Thursday, March 11.  Governor Pawlenty has indicated that he is willing to work with the bill, but may need to line item veto some of the projects in it to get closer to the size he has requested.
Currently, Gillette is included in bill for $10 million which would support the greatly needed expansion of our surgical area.
We are hoping we can ask you to simply pick up the phone and leave a 15-second request for the Governor.  Leaving a voice mail or a message with the person who answers the phone is fine.
We would like to get as many people as possible to call the Governor today at (651) 296-3391 (or toll free: (800) 657-3717).  So please feel free to forward this email to friends and family in Minnesota.
The message is simple:
1. Let him know that Gillette is important to you.
2. Thank him for his support of Gillette in the past, and encourage him to support the Gillette project and not line item veto it.
Thank you for your ongoing support!

Gillette Kids, Healthy Bones

Posted On: 03/09/2010

Did you know that kids who have disabilities can be at greater risk for developing poor bone health?  That’s because issues such as feeding difficulties, inadequate nutrition, some medications, and an inability to perform weight-bearing exercise — all things that kids with complex medical needs might face — can contribute to abnormal bone growth and lowered bone density.

In the most recent issue of A Pediatric Perspective, Gillette’s newsletter for physicians and providers, pediatric endocrinologist Kevin Sheridan, M.D., explains how a technique called DXA scanning can help clinicians assess children’s bone health and recommend appropriate treatments. Interestingly, Gillette is among a limited number of clinics that offers DXA scanning that’s especially-suited for kids who have disabilities.

Click here to read the full article, “Assessing Bone Health In Children.”

Thanks, Change for Kids Participants!

Posted On: 03/08/2010

Change collectors representing schools, businesses, families and other groups celebrated Sunday night at the KS95 for Kids® Change for Kids private party, held at Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe. Party-goers enjoyed unlimited rides, met Nickelodeon “celebrities” like Sponge Bob and Dora the Explorer, and chatted with KS95 on-air personalities. The best part? Change for Kids raised more than $70,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Children’s Cancer Research Fund — and donations are still coming in!

Special thanks to KS95 and partners Nickelodeon Universe and M&I Bank for making this exciting event — and Change for Kids — possible!  To learn more about Change for Kids, or to make an online donation, click here. 

The Harris family were the top fundraising family for the 3rd year in a row. Daughter Lily, 4, is a Gillette patient. Thanks, guys!

The Brayall family collected change in honor of their youngest child, Anthony, who receives care at Gillette. Here they are with KS95's Greg & Melissa.

The Payne family (pictured, mom Lynne and Gillette patient Allie) inspired Benson Junior and Senior High Schools in Benson, Minn. to collect change. The schools raised over $3,000!

Gillette patient Bella takes a ride on the carousel at Nickelodeon Universe.

The Larsons, another Gillette and Change for Kids family.

Let the Pouring Begin!

Posted On: 03/03/2010

It’s a little early for April showers. But, this week, there’s a different kind of “pouring” taking place on our hillside. Crews began pouring the first of many concrete footings that will ultimately support the weight of our new building and all of its contents. These footings — a mix of concrete and steel, called rebar — will keep our building strong and stable, no matter the season.

Wondering how much concrete we’ll need for our building’s footings? To give you an idea, one truckload yields about 10 cubic yards of concrete. And our first (and biggest) footing will need an impressive 150 yards total – now that’s heavy!

Concrete is poured into the hillside’s largest footing. This particular footing will support our new building’s elevator shafts.

It will take several more weeks to pour all of our building’s footings. In the meantime, crews are moving full speed ahead on another piece of the project — steel beams that will support the building’s interior and exterior walls. These massive beams, called H Beams, are drilled more than 20 feet into the earth. Then they’re secured with concrete.  Click here to see this process in real time.

These H beams are drilled deep into the earth, then secured in place with concrete.

Nick Speaks Up for Prosthetic Limb Bill

Posted On: 03/02/2010

Wondering what Gillette patient Nick Nelson has been up to lately?  Last week, Nick and his mom, Greta, spoke at the Minnesota State Capitol in support of a proposed prosthetic limb bill.

Read about Nick’s testimony — and the proposed bill — here.

Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time Nick’s spoken up for causes close to his heart. Last summer, he and Greta traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Senator Amy Klobuchar and other Minnesota lawmakers.

Last summer, Nick and Greta traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for children's healthcare access.

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