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Inova Health System is building a new women’s and children’s hospital at the Inova Fairfax Hospital campus in Merrifield.

The new hospital, which is expected to open by 2015, will upgrade and expand the hospital’s existing facilities focused on women’s and children’s health. Inova broke ground for the new building this month.

The facility will integrate the two specialties in ways that the current building cannot, said Heather Russell, administrator for the Inova Children’s Hospital.

For example, the neonatal intensive care unit will be adjacent to the delivery rooms for high-risk mothers, so “high-risk mothers can deliver in the same place that the infant will be cared for,” Russell said.

The building will have three floors dedicated to children’s health, and there will be a separate entrance for children, “so the hospital isn’t as intimidating when they come into it.”

Inova Children’s Hospital will include 116 private pediatric patient rooms; a 108-bassinett neonatal intensive care unit, up from 75 beds; a pediatric oncology unit; and a 24-bed pediatric intensive care unit.

Russell said the hospital staff now is picking out the decor for the facility.

“Obviously, for a pediatric hospital, that’s a lot of fun,” she said.

There also will be room to meet growing demand for women’s services in the facility, as well as specialty services that might make the hospital a more appealing choice for mothers. For example, the perinatal unit, where women with high-risk pregnancies might need to stay for weeks at a time, will open out to a rooftop garden.

The Inova Women’s Hospital also will include 192 private patient rooms, a women’s surgery center with eight operating rooms, 33 labor delivery and recovery suites, six cesarean-section operation rooms and a lactation center. In addition to services for new mothers, the women’s hospital also will treat certain cancers and offer other types of care specific to women’s health.

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com