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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -
Several children who were helped by the UI Children's Hospital broke ground on the new facility Friday. Liz Schmid is a Dubuque resident. Her three daughters all gave speeches in the ground breaking ceremony. Schmid says it was a tearful moment.
"I was kind of choked up a little bit because I do remember we had some really pretty stressful early days and they have come so far." Schmid said.
Her now 9 year old daughters were born prematurely and weighed between 1 pound, six ounces and two pounds each.
"From the fact that they were so small when they were born to the fact that they are in 3rd grade and they are just doing everything all the kids are doing and beyond really is just a miracle." Schmid said.
Schmid said the triplets faced many struggles in those first couple of weeks.
"Their are a lot of significant problems that premature children have or can have when they are born. We had triplets so it seemed like we encountered every significant problem their was. Some of the scariest is bleeding in the brain, their were some heart problems that we worked through, a build up of fluid in the brain. We had some really challenging days."
The groundbreaking of the new facility took place Friday afternoon on the patio of the John Colloton Pavilion at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
The new 480,000-square-foot facility comes at a price tag of $292 million and is set to be completed in March of 2016, according to uichildrens.org.
The cost is being paid for through a combination of bonds, patient revenue and private gifts. Organizers have raised $26 million of their $50 million goal for the facility.
The facility will feature 12 above-ground floors and two below-ground floors. It will also include the renovation of an existing 56,250 square feet.
Scott Turner is the Executive Director of the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. He says the new facility was not only designed for kids, but by kids.
"We have well of 500 faculty, staff family and kids themselves participating in the design and they have been trying to design that wow factor." Turner said.
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