Boston Children’s Hospital will unveil its new rooftop garden with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday to celebrate the 8,000-square-foot space atop the Berthiaume Building.
The garden is meant to be a place of comfort for families, patients and staff amidst the crowded Longwood medical area of the city, said Lisa Hogarty, senior vice president of Real Estate Planning and Development with the hospital.
“We’ve tried to create, in an incredibly dense location, as much green space as we can,” she said. “We just know from research and from almost 150 years of experience that any time parents and their kids, specifically their patient child, can get outside, it promotes healing and a huge amount of stress relief.”
The garden, which is on the rooftop of the main hospital building, features an array of plants, private areas for families to have lunch together, plenty of seating, shade canopies on which patient artwork has been silkscreened and a 120-degree view of Downtown Boston.
With 12-foot-tall glass panels around the garden, the space is also protected from the wind, and provides lookout opportunities for visitors.
The garden formally opened on Mother’s Day, on which about 500 people stepped out onto the roof to see the sights. In the crowd were two new mothers, Hogarty said, whose newborns were receiving care in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“[The mothers] were able to bring them outside for the first time, taking their first breath of fresh air. It was really special,” Hogarty said.
In 2016, the Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital was demolished to make way for the construction of a new clinical hospital building. Many had fought to save the garden, which visitors said was a special spot where sick children and their families could step away from the hospital noise to find some solace.
That makes the opening of this rooftop garden extra important, Hogarty said, as families, patients and healthcare providers have been eagerly awaiting a similar area ever since.
“We treat the sickest patients in the world,” Hogarty said. “For everybody who works in that level of intensity, just to have a place where they can get away, have a little bit of respite, it’s great for the entire Boston Children’s community.”
This garden is the first in a series of new green space initiatives. The hospital plans to build four more gardens after this one, two of which will be indoors to allow for a green space even in the New England winter.
This rooftop garden cost a total of $15 million. Most of that cost, Hogarty said, came from the relocation of infrastructure as much of the building’s mechanical systems located on the roof had to be moved and the elevator had to be extended.
Still, Hogarty said of the addition, “I would describe it as priceless.”