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Nemours Children's Hospital holds dedication ceremony

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando's newest children's hospital celebrated its dedication on Thursday with more than 1,000 people in Lake Nona.

The new Nemour's Children's Hospital facility is one of the anchors of Orlando's Medical City at Lake Nona, and it will officially open its door to patients on Oct. 22.

Thursday, the public got its first tour of the new hospital.

The hospital is a 95-room, $400 million facility that's only for children, and was designed by parents who also hired the staff.

"They actually were trained on how to interview, and they interviewed our top executives and some of the leadership that has been hired, so they've been with us every step of the way," said Dr. Judy Wall of Nemours Children's Hospital.

The state-of-the-art facility includes grounds that offer young patients the opportunity to go outside and explore.

"We have a (one-acre) discovery garden just outside the hospital for families and children. We have two beautiful roof gardens for children to leave their rooms and be able to play on the roof garden if they would like to," Wall said.

There were a number of events planned Thursday, including a nighttime celebration, where all the lights of the hospital are turned on the rooms light up with different colors, so the kids can choose what color they want their room to be at night.

Other medical companies argued this new children's hospital might dilute the quality of care locally, but Nemours doctors said they'll be providing specialty care here that other area hospitals do not provide.

"Examples are muscular dystrophy. I'm a rheumatologist, working with children. Before I came here there were no rheumatologists working central Florida," said Dr. Terri Finkel.

One other point of distinction is parents of ill children actually helped design the facility and were even in on the hiring process for doctors and administrators.

"They helped bring hospitality factors into the quality care that we provide. And what was really amazing is that they actually helped interview me and many other doctors and it was really that fact that got me here," said Finkel.

The hospital will start accepting patients on Oct. 22.