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Published on February 27, 2012

Groundbreaking Set For T.J.'s Courtyard At MU Children's Hospital

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― Community leaders will join physicians, staff and other supporters of MU Children’s Hospital at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 1, to break ground for T.J.’s Courtyard, an interactive activity and rest area at the hospital’s main entrance. The area is named for T.J., the official mascot of Children’s Hospital, and the groundbreaking will occur at the opening of the 2012 Miracles for Kids Radiothon fundraiser for MU Children’s Hospital.

Thomas Loew, M.D., director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Children’s Hospital, and Keri Simon, CPA, MHA, executive director of Children’s Hospital, will speak at the groundbreaking ceremony. Columbia Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and other special guests will lift shovels in the groundbreaking ceremony.

T.J.’s Courtyard will feature planters and interactive activities for children, including large gazing balls and an earth globe, musical chimes for visitors to play, tubano drums and an enclosed bubble column.

A brick walkway, called T.J.’s Walkway, will be included in the courtyard. Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the project can fund a brick by making a donation to MU Children’s Hospital. The brick, which can be engraved with up to 39 characters or spaces, will be a permanent part of the new Children’s Hospital.

Also included in the courtyard is a bronze statue featuring T.J. on a bench that was placed outside Children’s Hospital in October 2010. Engraved bricks and a schematic drawing of the completed T.J.’s Courtyard will be on display at the groundbreaking.

“I hope it will be a welcoming place for our patients and families ― a place to get away for a moment and let families be together,” said Timothy Fete, M.D., medical director of Children's Hospital.