Imagine What's Possible
The S.C. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee unanimously has approved $50 million to help pay for a new Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion at the Medical University of South Carolina. The hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2019, is expected to cost $350 million.
It means that the House’s budget-writing committee has expressed a willingness to invest state resources in this new hospital. This is great news for a couple of reasons:
It would allow us to get started sooner rather than later. We couldn’t even apply for the loan without at least $35 million in hand. This appropriation would allow us to lock in favorable terms and begin work right away.
No. The bricks-and-mortar down payment is step one; there are many aspects of the building project and programs beyond the down payment that will require significant financial support from local and statewide communities, now and for years to come.
We know these bills have a long road to travel to be fully passed by our legislative body and approved by our governor. We remain in the “roll up our sleeves” phase of raising money for this new facility. We want to build something exceptional for the children and their families, instead of just building what might be sufficient. Regardless of what happens at the state level, we still must have the support and generosity of the public to reach our goals.
The $50 million funding line item would be used for the bricks-and-mortar down payment needed to break ground on the new Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion through a non-recurring appropriation. More funding will be needed to support the costs associated with constructing the building and putting necessary resources toward our mission.
As good as this news is, it’s important to remember that this is the first step in a long process. The bills must now go before the full House for a vote, and from there they will pass to the Senate Finance Committee. Once leaving committee, they will be voted on by the Senate. If they pass the Senate, a conference committee consisting of three members of the House and three members of the Senate will draft final versions of the two bills for ratification by the full body. Should the bills be ratified, they move to the governor’s desk for approval. After that, we’ll still need to raise at least $50 million in private gifts from our supporters in the community.
Bottom line, we need at least $350 million to build the hospital we envision. We must work together at every level – public and private – to secure those funds. Once we get there, we will have one of the best children’s hospitals in the country.