For months, kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital have watched in amazement as men and women in hardhats right outside their windows have worked on a 12-story expansion at the facility.
Last week, the children got a chance to meet some of those superheroes in the building and construction trades, and each child received his/her very own hardhat covered in stickers from the various unions working on the job.
Several representatives from the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council visited with the children and spent about two hours passing out 250 kids’ hardhats.
“We learned that each day, the kids push their beds to the windows to watch the workers,” said Jeff Aboussie, the council’s executive secretary-treasurer. “That’s a pretty neat thing, and we wanted to do something for all the kids.”
The members gave out the hats as part of the hospital’s weekly BINGO game, which is broadcast via closed circuit TV throughout the building. Each child who won – and they all win say hospital officials – received a toy and a hardhart.
During the event, Braxton Kincheloe, who’s undergoing a series of kidney function tests, was able to meet with Heat & Frost Insulators Local 1 President Jerry McAtee and IBEW Local 1 Business Representative Dave Roth.
Although the 8-year-old Marion, Ill., boy hasn’t been at the hospital long, he has definitely noticed all the workers outside his window. While he didn’t have much to say, he was grinning ear to ear when he received his hardhat.
Building tradesmen also served as BINGO callers for the games. Bob Hunt, an Iron Workers Local 396 business agent, donned the bingo tool belt filled with letters and numbers and called them out like a pro.
THE ALL-UNION BJC CAMPUS
The work going on at the children’s hospital is part of the BJC Campus Renewal Project – one of the largest, long-term construction jobs in the area. The project, which is being built with all-union hands, includes the children’s hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
Phase 1 will feature a new 12-story, 558,000-square-foot inpatient tower at Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s North Campus, a 12-story, 222,000-square-foot expansion of the children’s hospital and improvements to campus public spaces.
To date, Aboussie said about 950 tradespeople have worked on the project. Construction is expected to continue through 2022.