DES MOINES, Iowa -- A metro children’s hospital marked a big milestone on Tuesday. Blank Children's Hospital was dedicated on December 3, 1944.
A.H. and Anna Blank built the hospital in memory of their son Raymond. It was the only hospital of its kind to be built during World War II. Mr. Blank had to get permission from the president.
There was a severe polio epidemic at the time. The Blanks paid for the construction of the four-story hospital. "The original hospital and the addition that was built four years later. Actually, we have no idea how much that cost. Every bill went to Mr. Blank," said Dr. Steve Stephenson, president of Blank Children’s Hospital.
The hospital was rebuilt in 1980. It was remodeled and expanded in 2000. "We're now on the third renovation of Blank Children's Hospital, completed about 20 years ago. Even now we're running out of space here on this campus, and so for the first time actually, we're going to have a major new facility off the campus in West Des Moines, our new STAR and developmental clinic for vulnerable children,” said Dr. Stephenson.
The hospital celebrated the 75th anniversary by raising a record amount of money at the Festival of Trees and Lights. The festival has raised more than $10 million in the past 36 years.