New 7-story ICU and Emergency Services Pavilion planned for Rady Children’s Hospital

The building is slated to open in 2027 with 140 ICU beds and 84 ER treatment rooms.

SD Rady Children's Hospital expansion rendering

A vision for the new seven-story tower at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Rendering courtesy of Rady Children’s Hospital

Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego (RCHSD) is the No. 9 best children’s hospital in the US — and the largest children’s hospital on the West Coast. In the coming years, the Serra Mesa-based pediatric facility will grow even bigger with the addition of a seven-story emergency and intensive care tower.

The project — slated to be completed in 2027 — is the largest in RCHSD’s history. Here’s what we know, so far.

RCHSD communications manager Benjamin Metcalf told SDtoday 76,450-sqft of existing space at the Nelson/Hahn Pavilion on Frost Street will be demolished to make way for the new 486,000-sqft ICU and Emergency Services Pavilion.

The new medical tower will include:

  • 140 ICU beds, including single-patient rooms with families in mind
  • Four operating rooms
  • 84 emergency department treatment rooms — nearly double compared to the 46 ER rooms currently operating at the hospital’s busy Rose Pavilion
  • A 12-bed emergency behavioral health department
  • A cafe and kitchen will be located on level one, a radiology department on level two, and the emergency department on level three
  • Level four will be dedicated to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU), level five is for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and level six for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Level seven will remain empty for future needs; there will be a helipad on the roof

Metcalf said the levels will be kid-friendly and themed after distinct San Diego regions like “High Desert” and “Coastline” and decor will feature animals within those habitats (think sea turtles, whales, and bighorn sheep). Outside, there will be a “park-like esplanade” with seating areas.

The project is expected to cost between $1.2 and $1.4 billion, helped by a $200 million pledge from local philanthropists Ernest and Evelyn Rady.

Demolition is expected to begin this fall.

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