St. Louis Shriners Hospital, currently located on Lindbergh Boulevard near Frontenac Plaza, is interested in relocating to the BJC Medical Campus in the City of St. Louis. This is not yet a “done deal” — but it looks very promising. Doctors who provide services to children at Shriners also serve on the faculty and staff of the Washington University Medical School and BJC and many of them would like to be closer to the med school.
As older readers may recall, the original St. Louis Shriners Hospital for Children opened in 1924 in the area of what is now the BJC campus. In 1963, the old hospital was closed and a new 80-bed Shriners Hospital was opened in St. Louis County — making it one of several City hospitals that made the move to the suburbs.
A move back to the City would be important for a number of reasons: The hospital provides excellent comprehensive orthopedic care for children — at no charge. If Shriners moves back to the City, children in the City who need orthopedic care will have far better access to this opportunity.The hospital will bring more than 300 jobs to the City, adding to the many thousands of health care jobs already located in this area.Shriners will reinforce the City’s place as the region’s center for excellence in medical research and medical care. Part of the attraction of a City location for Shriners is the fact that BJC and Washington University consistently rank in the Top 10 medical facilities in the country and that Saint Louis University is on the cutting edge of many medical research initiatives, as is evidenced by their new research building coming out of the ground at Grand and Chouteau. Shriners also performs its own research in metabolic bone disorders, which will add to the scope of research initiatives already underway at BJC and at the Center for Emerging Technologies.
I am very enthusiastic about this possible return of Shriners to the City. They would be great new neighbors. I am keeping my fingers crossed about their final decision.