Neonatal ICU phase one nearing completion

Published: October 9th, 2016

Category: Announcements, UF Health Shands Childrens Hospital

NICU Phase I (update Oct. 2016)

Phase one of the Neonatal ICU expansion at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is nearing completion, with intensive care patients moving into the new space in November. In the renovated NICU, our tiniest, most vulnerable patients will receive care in four areas known as “neighborhoods.”

The neighborhoods are housed in one contiguous space and named Ladybug, Dragonfly, Bumblebee and Hummingbird. While neonatal intermediate care and intensive care babies will generally be separated by neighborhood, each space is designed to meet the needs of all NICU patients — regardless of their level of care.

The neighborhoods are comfortable, family-focused areas with whimsical nature themes in harmony with the rest of the children’s hospital. The 68-bed space will have semi-private areas, as well as private rooms to help meet the education and discharge planning needs of families.

The final phase of the project — phase two — will focus on creating a large NICU waiting area featuring a sibling play space and additional seating. Intermediate care patients will move into the neighborhood space in spring 2017.

Click through the gallery below to see photos of the new spaces, or scroll below the photos to read about the background of the project.

Overview (update July 2016)

Starting Monday, Jan. 4, the Neonatal ICU on the third floor of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital will undergo renovations. Construction will be completed in phases. Phase one completion will have NICU III patients moving into the new space in fall 2016, followed by NICU II patients in spring 2017.

Service Access

  • The current NICU third-floor corridor closed Jan. 4, 2016. Access from the Atrium elevators and stairs are closed during construction.
  • Pedestrian traffic will be re-routed during construction. Detour signage will direct patients, visitors and staff to appropriate walkways.
  • People can access Labor and Delivery, the Mother/Baby Unit and the NICU from the children’s hospital/east elevators.
  • All services will remain open and uninterrupted.


  • The renovations will result in a family-focused, comfortable environment in which medical teams can develop the leading-edge neonatal care for which they’re known.
  • Transformation of the adjacent NICU II and NICU III units from a combined 12,632 square feet to a total of 20,844 square feet will begin in January 2016.
  • There will be 16 new care pods — adding eight level III beds (increasing from 22 to 30) and eight level II beds (increasing from 30 to 38) — as well as four private rooms that accommodate family members. Additionally, there will be a dedicated neonatal neuro intensive care unit section to monitor and care for infants with brain injury. The waiting area will include a sibling play area.
  • The unit will also have dedicated breastfeeding areas, and a warm and comforting design with a nature theme in harmony with the rest of the children’s hospital.
  • Project preparation involved UF Health faculty, staff and patient family advisors, who studied best practices in NICU design and provided input. UF Health Shands Facilities architects and experts collaborated with external architects who specialize in children’s care facilities. They created mock-up rooms that staff tested for usability before finalizing plans. The priority is to provide the best possible patient and family experience while supporting staff with the most advanced care space.
  • Read more about the renovations here.

Download a print-and-post handout of this information.