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Gillette Celebrates Gateway Plaza Opening


President and CEO, Barbara Joers, cuts the ribbon at Gateway Plaza.

Gillette Children’s recently celebrated the completion of the Gateway Plaza. The project began with a vision to create a central space to welcome Gillette families, allow for a more convenient drop-off area for patients, provide safe and accessible parking for Gillette employees, expand administrative office spaces, and open the door to clinical space expansion down the road.  

Gillette partners, patients and families, and employees gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony early November to officially open the new space. President and CEO Barbara Joers describes the opening as a first step toward a bold vision for Gillette. “As you enter this new facility, you see how our community comes together,” she says.


Guests enjoy the new play space after the ribbon cutting ceremony.

For the community, by the community

The project was, indeed, a group effort made possible by support from key donors and community and corporate partners. LSE Architects and McGough Construction brought the Gateway Plaza from architectural vision to reality, navigating around some tricky hillside terrain in the process.  

Families visiting Gillette will find a meditative courtyard and a children’s play space at the new facility. The playground includes a wheelchair swing, climbing structures, a “farmers market” for interactive and imaginative play, and a fully accessible treehouse with a bird’s-eye view of University Avenue.  

The David and Barbro Johnson Family, who included Gillette as a beneficiary of their final estate, helped bring this space to life through a multi-million-dollar gift designated for the new playground.  

Financial support from SEI and other individual donors, as well as enthusiastic support and insight from community partners and neighbors including the Minnesota Autism Society, St. Paul Public Housing, the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, and St. Paul Parks and Recreation, were also crucial in making the Gateway Plaza possible. 

Opening the door to a bright future

Gillette is excited to welcome our patients, their families and other visitors to the Gateway Plaza. “You can see the potential in how this expands capacity at our Saint Paul campus, and what this means for the future of our care,” Joers says. 


A full view of the exterior of the completed Gateway Plaza structure.

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