Wolverine football-themed play area gives "Little Victors" at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital the superstar treatment

Play area honors long-standing relationship between U-M athletics and Mott

When the new, state-of-the-art C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital opens its doors this fall, patients and families will be greeted by the sounds of the iconic Michigan marching band.

The music won’t be coming from the live band, though. Instead, it will pour out from the “Michigan Game Day Experience,” an interactive, athletics-themed playroom on the eighth floor of the new hospital. View a virtual tour of the Michigan Game Day Experience.

Featuring nine “zones,” the play area shares the same sights, sounds and energetic spirit as the Michigan Stadium on a football Saturday. A vision of the U-M athletic department, whose members raised funds for the projects, the playroom is a place for patients, parents and siblings to unwind, have fun and be distracted while at Mott.

Designed to engage and entertain families in an environment that accommodates a diverse range of ages and ability levels, the space features intuitive technology, interactive games and themed recreation areas.

“This space is an extension of the very special relationship that exists between Mott patients and families and University of Michigan football players and other athletes,” says Pat Warner, Executive Director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital. “Kids have always really looked forward to visits by athletes and this space is a reminder of that. We are so grateful for the partnership between the Michigan Athletic Department and Mott Hospital and the emotional help it provides to our young patients.”

Among the features of the room is a small-scale press box, where visitors can use computers to take photos, email family and connect with friends through social media. Recreational areas feature jungle-gym equipment and room to run. Quieter areas allow kids and parents to work on crafts or watch highlights of sporting events and interviews with U-M athletes. In the center of the room is a play area where kids can experience the sounds of the marching band.

High-definition projections of game footage will be played on a floor-to-ceiling screen just outside of the room’s entrance, giving passers-by a taste of the fun inside.

The playroom is the result of more than three years of fundraising by the athletic department, which generated $450,000 for the project at their annual football Spring Game and Radio-o-Thon.

Legendary U-M football coach Lloyd Carr has been a longtime supporter of Mott. Along with his wife, Laurie, he is the co-chair of a $75 million fundraising campaign that began in 2003 with Carr’s Wash for Kids. In its 4 years, Carr’s Wash raised more than $350,000 for the construction of the new hospital.

“I’m very passionate about the bond between the athletics department and Mott. I think the Michigan Game Day Experience is a symbolic testament to how strong that relationship is today,” Carr says. “It’s wonderful to see this project come to life.”

Accommodations were made for children who have physical limitations, or use wheelchairs or IV poles. Careful considerations, including advanced air-filtration systems, were also made for children with compromised immune systems.

While planning the new hospital, visiting families, parents and patients were asked what they would like to see in the play area. Many shared stories about their family’s beloved museums and playgrounds. These stories helped inspire the team at EWI Worldwide, the Livonia-based company who designed the room.

“My team was able to create a tailored approach that captured the enthusiasm and spirit of the football program and its impact on the community with sports-inspired sections, such as a quarterback corner and team spirit zone," says Eli B'Sheart, Vice President of Creative for EWI Worldwide.

Kids can toss balls through moving obstacles while in the quarterback corner, motivating them to exercise and help foster their emotional and physical wellbeing while at Mott.

“Physical exercise is one way we can tell that a kid is strong enough to go home,” says Dan Fischer, Director of Child and Family Life at Mott. “For little ones on the road to recovery, the benefits of physical activity are tremendous.”


About C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital:
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in the U.S. News Media Group’s 2011 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” including third in the country for heart and heart surgery. In November, the hospital moves to a new 1.1 million square feet, $754 million state-of-the-art facility that will be home to cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.

Written by Lauren McLeod

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