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Project will give chemotherapy patients a new view

Windows. Soon, they will have windows.

Children who now must endure hours of chemotherapy infusion treatments in windowless rooms will be able to look outside during the treatments once a $2.7 million construction project is completed.

The project at the Children's Specialty Pediatric Center, the building next to Children's Hospital & Medical Center, is set to be completed in April.

The five-story building, at 84th Street and West Dodge Road, houses more than 30 outpatient clinics run by physicians who practice at Children's. It also hosts a pediatric dental clinic operated by the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Dentistry.

The building's third floor has sat empty since it opened in 2010. The space is needed now because clinics have gotten busier and outgrown their offices, said Scott Kaminski, vice president of support services at Children's.

After the work is completed, the third floor will house a hematology and oncology clinic and the infusion center. The space those offices are vacating will be available for other clinics, Kaminski said.

The existing infusion area is bright and cheery, but patients and parents have noted that they lose track of what's happening outside because of the absence of windows, Kaminski said.

Children's also is building a three-story, 43,500-square-foot building down the street from the hospital that will feature 56 guest rooms where parents and family members of children being treated at the hospital can stay.

The Carolyn Scott Rainbow House, at Farnam and Beverly Drives, will include a reception area; a large kitchen with four cooking stations; a dining room with seating for 84 people; an outdoor patio and playground; media, game, exercise and play rooms; and lounges and laundry rooms on each floor. Each room will have one or two queen beds, a refrigerator, a pull-out sofa, a private bath, a TV and WiFi access.

The $12.7 million project is set to be completed by January 2015. It will replace the current Rainbow House, at 7815 Harney St. That building, a converted apartment building, has been in use since 1983 and needs mechanical and structural work, Kaminski said. It also has only 32 rooms, not all of which have bathrooms.

“Demand is exceeding our room supply,” Kaminski said.

In 2012 the Rainbow House served more than 2,000 families from more than 25 states. People who use the Rainbow House are asked to donate $10 per night.

The Children's Hospital & Medical Center Foundation is committed to raising $8 million toward the cost of the Rainbow House, Kaminski said. The hospital, he said, will cover the rest out of capital funds.

Kiewit is the construction manager on both the clinic project and the Rainbow House. Calvin L. Hinz Architects, P.C., is the Rainbow House project architect.

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