BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For nearly two years, Baton Rouge has watched the Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital come to life between Essen Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard floor by floor, beam by beam.
Construction is expected to be finished in late 2018. However, thanks to virtual reality, we can now take a stroll inside the 80-bed hospital still under construction.
Walking inside the main entrance of the hospital, you find yourself in a lobby bathed in light filtered through brightly colored glass. Along the wall next to the main desk is a kid friendly wall feature of nooks and benches where you can sit and play. A few floors up are spacious, modern patient rooms.
Virtual reality is a handy tool used by contractors. For one, it can help coordinate and lay out all the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing components in the hospital so all the contractors involved can make sure everything works together. It also allows the hospital to make changes to the design as they go.
"If there are some finishes they don't like, if they don't like the placement of some hospital equipment or something, we can move it around and account for that early on," said Ben Gambrel, senior project manager for Brasfield & Gorrie, llc.
Once the project is complete, the virtual model of the hospital and its many components will be given to the Lake's maintenance staff to be used as a detailed guide to the hospital and its inner workings. For now, it's not the finishes or wall colors the staff at the children's hospital are looking forward to. They say it's the service they'll be able to provide kids and their families throughout the region.
"It's really a tremendous opportunity and obligation that we have as providers to provide everything they need close to home and not to have to travel out of state or out of region," said pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brad Culotta.
On November 16 and 17, the Lake will host its annual Mediathon to help raise money and support the hospital and its mission. More information on that can be found here.