Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital marked a milestone last week as the final steel beam of its new Women’s and Children’s Pavilion was set into place.

The state-of-the-art medical facility, designed to care for women and children in the East Valley, is a partnership between the two healthcare providers.

The Women’s and Children’s Pavilion will be 378,000 square feet and include 24 labor and delivery rooms operated by Mercy Gilbert, which will have the capability to care for high-risk births. The facility will also have 48 post-partum beds.

Phoenix Children’s will operate a new 60-bed Level III neonatal intensive care unit for ill and premature babies, a 24-bed pediatric emergency department, six pediatric operating rooms and 24 pediatric beds within the new pavilion located on the Mercy Gilbert campus.

The five-story facility is expected to be completed late next year and be operational the following spring.

The joint project is part of a strategic expansion designed to meet the needs of the rapidly growing community in the East Valley, the two providers said in a joint statement.

“We are proud to work with Phoenix Children’s on such a momentous project that will allow both of our organizations to provide the best possible medical care to families in the East Valley,” said Mark Slyter, president and CEO of Mercy Gilbert and Chandler Regional Medical Centers.

He also praised town staff’s support, calling the pavilion “a game-changer for our community.”

“It is encouraging to hear the positive response from the community on this project,” said Bob Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s. “This new facility is a response to that, and it gives us and Dignity Health the ability to deliver exceptional care that is convenient to the growing families in the East Valley.”

Dignity Health and Phoenix Children’s have teamed up in the past.

In 2014, Phoenix Children’s opened a 22-bed unit inside Mercy Gilbert. In 2011, Dignity Health and Phoenix Children’s worked together to improve access to high-quality care by participating in the Arizona Care Network.

Lee Ann Benson, the new vice president of the East Valley market for Phoenix Children’s, earlier this year said a new medical office building on the same campus will open next January.

Phoenix Children’s Care Network collaborates with more than 170 pediatricians and specialists in the East Valley and Phoenix Children’s pediatric specialists are available for consults at Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.

Benson said Dignity Health is leading the construction efforts.

She said the new pavilion will offer the only dedicated pediatric emergency department in the East Valley.

“For all of those unexpected injuries and illnesses, we’ll have (services) there 24 hours a day, seven days a week (for) broken bones, beans in ears.

“One of the incredible services we’ll be adding is a 60-bed Level III neonatal intensive care unit, for premature babies, babies with medical or surgical (needs), private rooms designed for the babies and the family will have space to stay in there,” she said, saying that overall the new facility “will create this seamless continuity of care for moms and children.”

“The operating rooms are specifically for children, so Phoenix Children’s will operate those. Procedural suites that would be for things like an endoscopy…surgical-type things.

“The key design principle is all-around family-centered care, keeping families is a key part of the care team, creating spaces for them to support them. It’s just this great comprehensive program for both women and their babies and children as they grow.”

Benson said the range of specialists also will make the pavilion cutting-edge.

At the new officer building, she added, “We are going to have seven key services in that clinic, as well as another rotating clinic. It will include neurology, general surgery, ENT (otolaryngology), orthopedics, endocrinology, including hematology/oncology services as well an infusion clinic.”