CHKD Celebrates Opening of Children’s Pavilion Inpatient Psychiatric Care with Official Dedication Ceremony

Senator Creigh Deeds Joined State and Local Government Leaders, CHKD Executives, Board Members, and Patients to Dedicate New Building

Norfolk, Virginia, Sept. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) celebrated the forthcoming opening of inpatient psychiatric care in the new 14-story Children’s Pavilion with an official dedication ceremony this morning.

Speakers at the ceremony included Senator Creigh Deeds; John Littel, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia; Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander; former Governor Ralph Northam; Jim Dahling, President and CEO of CHKD Health System; Akhil Jain, Board Chair of CHKD Health System; John Lawson, Chair of CHKD’s Lighting the Way fundraising campaign for mental health; Carl Petersen, DO, CHKD’s Chief of Mental Health Services; and Amy Sampson, CHKD Senior Vice-President and Chief Engagement and Innovation Officer. 

“There’s been a lot said that this hospital is going to be the best in the state, but I’ve been to a bunch of hospitals, and it’s going to be the best in the country,” said Senator Deeds, whose son, Gus, struggled with mental illness before committing suicide outside the family’s rural Virginia home in 2013. “I can’t explain how meaningful it was to see this beautiful hospital for the first time – to tour the rooms and see how much care and attention went into creating a healing environment. I can’t think of a more worthy investment than in the mental wellbeing and health care of children. This will be a place where kids get better, where hope is restored to families, and where others all over the country, and probably all over the world, look to for advances in research and treatment.”

“Children’s Pavilion marks a major step forward in addressing the mental health crisis currently overwhelming the Commonwealth,” said Mayor Alexander. “When fully operational, this beautiful facility will admit about 2,500 children as inpatients every year, provide 48,000 outpatient therapy appointments, and add 400 new jobs. Norfolk is proud to be your home, CHKD, and we’re depending on you to do the same for children’s mental health as you’ve done for children’s medical care.”

“The pandemic opened our eyes to the consequences of isolation and separation, and the importance of school, sports, and play dates to our children’s development and mental health,” said Dahling. “We broke ground in 2019 with an urgency to tackle the waves of fear, anxiety, and depression sending children to our emergency department in mental health crisis and, though time will tell, the pandemic may be turning those waves into a tsunami. But we are here and ready to serve with the most caring, talented, and compassionate team of mental health professionals who embody the spirit and vision of CHKD’s mission statement of ‘health, healing, and hope for all children.’”

CHKD has brought together esteemed clinicians, researchers, and academicians from across the country to transform the way young people receive mental health care. Located at 401 Gresham Drive, Children’s Pavilion will be the hub of a coordinated continuum of mental health services, including prevention programs, research and training, acute inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, day programs, and follow-up care.

“We embrace this program,” said Northam, a pediatric neurologist at CHKD. “We embrace the children and their families who need access to mental health care. We want all children and families who have a mental health crisis to come here. We want to take care of them.”

Outpatient services began in Children’s Pavilion in April 2022. The first 12-bed inpatient psychiatric unit will officially open on October 11. Additional units will open in a phased approach through mid-2023, when all 60 private inpatient rooms will be open.

CHKD launched a mental health initiative in 2018 to answer the growing community concern about a lack of pediatric mental health services in Hampton Roads and across Virginia. Since then, CHKD has grown its mental health team from one full-time child and adolescent psychiatrist who was part of a 30-member team to its current 19 psychiatrists on a team of more than 200, which is expected to double by the time all inpatient beds are open.

Thanks to the generous community response to the CHKD Lighting the Way fundraising campaign, construction of Children’s Pavilion began in September 2019. The community has raised $68 million toward this project through the Lighting the Way campaign, exceeding a preliminary goal which has now been elevated to $75 million to meet the increased needs for pediatric mental health care that arose during the pandemic. To help CHKD fulfill the needs of the community, visit this Lighting the Way link.


CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on Children's Pavilion, a 60-bed, 14-story hospital and outpatient center to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower opened for outpatient care in April 2022 and will open for inpatient care on October 11, 2022. Learn more at

Download photos and video of Children’s Pavilion here.



Speakers at CHKD Children's Pavilion Dedication Ceremony Senator Creigh Deeds at CHKD Children's Pavilion Dedication Ceremony