Boston Children’s Hospital will open a new rooftop garden next year to help compensate for the loss of the Prouty Garden as it expands its Boston campus.
The 8,000-square-foot green space on the 11th floor of the hospital’s main building is scheduled to be unveiled in the summer of 2017. It will include a gazebo, seating areas, planted flowers and grasses, and spaces for “quiet contemplation,” the hospital said.
Children’s is seeking approval to construct a new 11-story hospital tower as part of a $1 billion expansion in Boston and Brookline. The plans call for shuttering the ground-level Prouty Garden, a 23,000-square-foot scenic space that holds sentimental value for many of the hospital’s patients and their families.
Even as the Prouty Garden disappears, Children’s executives say they are planning to add 25 percent more green space to their campus in Boston as they expand and upgrade their facilities. The rooftop garden is the first step toward that goal, they said; they are also planning a new quarter-acre outdoor garden and new indoor gardens located close to patient units.
“Central to our plans for the future is an approach to green and open space that carries the Prouty Garden’s lessons of peace and serenity across our entire campus,” Dr. Kevin Churchwell, chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital, said in a statement.
The plan to close the Prouty Garden has drawn fierce opposition from patient families and staff. More than 13,000 people have signed an online petition to preserve the garden.
Anne Gamble, an activist at the group Friends of the Prouty Garden, said the new gardens that the hospital is planning to build won’t be able to replicate the Prouty.
“They really cannot claim they are providing a healing garden with their additional green spaces,” Gamble said. “The Prouty Garden is almost a half-acre. It provides privacy and space so people can come and find true healing with the plantings and the mature trees. It’s real earth, it isn’t dirt on top of a rooftop with potted plants.”
Last week, the Department of Public Health asked the hospital to conduct an analysis to show that its expansion plans are “consistent with” the state’s goals to control rising health care costs. Children’s is among the most expensive health care providers in the state. The department will hold a public hearing on the hospital’s plans Feb. 25.