Grand Opening of CNMC Healing Garden


Grand Opening of CNMC Healing Garden

Apr 27, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017, marks a special day at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC – a new outdoor space specifically designed and constructed for use by young patients and their families will officially open. We served as the general contractor for The Bunny Mellon Healing Garden Dedicated to the First Ladies of the United States. In addition to donating preconstruction, project management, and executive leadership services, we waived our construction fee to build the space – valued in excess of $200,000.

The Power of Partnership

Our involvement began with a conversation between leaders at DAVIS, CoStar Group, Inc., and Perkins+Will, firms we’ve proudly partnered with for the past decade. Andy Florence of CoStar, and wife Heather Florence, led efforts to acquire charitable contributions for the $3 million project. Construction began in late 2015.

“This project just made sense. We were all in it together with the Hospital, every step of the way. It was a true team effort."

Dennis Cotter, Executive Vice President

Upgrade is an Understatement

The 7,200-SF garden includes a fountain, trees, ambient lighting, benches and a multitude of plants overlooking the Capitol. Special care was taken to select plant materials that met infection control standards. The new space was built on gravel rooftop which was not originally intended to hold the weight of a garden. As a result, the space required significant structural upgrades. Over 3,000 hours of steel welding and reinforcement took place directly above an existing 24-hour laboratory that services the entire Hospital. 

We used temporary exhaust fans and carbon filters along with other air quality and noise control measures to eliminate smoke, odor, dust and noise. Lab operations ran smoothly with no interruptions from construction. The outer perimeter of the garden faces the Capitol, and is enclosed with a 7’ high structural glass wall which allows visitors to have a safe, unobstructed view. Our integrated project delivery approach allowed all team members to meet key project milestones, including an initial soft-opening in December 2016.



"Everyone involved wanted this project to exceed expectations. This was always about the children. We truly believe that the patient is our client, and we kept that front of mind throughout the entire project."

Jon Hancher, Vice President

Some patients and staff have already been able to spend time in the Garden. The project was not without challenges, but the end result is one of our most rewarding projects to date. We were able to repurpose a space that patients can see from their rooms, into something beautiful, sustainable, safe, and therapeutic. Knowing that we were able to help make this possible, in our community, makes it that much more special. 

To see the latest news coverage for the Garden’s Grand Opening, view ABC7’s feature here