With the current COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, events have had a different look in terms of social distancing, mask wearing and more. It was no exception for the groundbreaking of Intermountain Healthcare’s new Primary Children’s Hospital in Lehi.

The ceremony was held virtually on Thursday, marking the beginning of construction on the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus.

The 38-acre hospital campus is expected to fill the need of the growing population in Utah County.

“One might imagine that the pandemic has decreased our focus on the critical work that we are going to talk about today,” said Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “In fact, it has intensified it. In our effort to create a model healthcare system for children, we will address all of these issues. today we announce a new Primary Children’s campus in Lehi. It is the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus.”

Gail Miller gave a $50 million gift to Intermountain in January, and Harrison voiced that Intermountain wanted to be specific in applying that gift to the new campus in Lehi.

Miller spoke about the plan Intermountain has for the hospital and how impactful, innovative and comprehensive it will be.

“It will be exciting to watch this hospital take shape as it becomes the nation’s model healthcare system for children in the intermountain west,” Miller said.

Another driving force behind the gift from Miller was her family’s experiences at Primary Children’s in Salt Lake City. Miller’s son had to have two surgeries there at a young age, and both her grandson and great-grandson needed life-saving care after being born prematurely.

Miller added her and her family were moved by the mission to build the new hospital, deciding to honor their own mission by helping to impact the future of children and families in the state.

The hospital will help the more than 200,000 children that live in Utah County, with the county’s pediatric population expected to exceed that of Salt Lake County in 20 years.

“Expanding Primary Children’s pediatric specialty care in one of the nation’s fastest growing pediatric populations will provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place,” hospital administrator Lisa Paletta said. “Nearly one-third of Primary’s patients come fro Utah County and South Salt Lake County. Extending the expertise of pediatric care into our communities makes for a more central and easily accessible location where out patients and their families live.”

There will be a five-story hospital and a three-story medical office building on the campus. It will be a full service children’s hospital providing everything the Salt Lake campus does, with the exception of transplants and heart surgeries.

The 66-bed hospital will include a medical surgical unit, pediatric and surgical newborn intensive care units, inpatient behavioral health unit and an observation unit next to the emergency unit.

Being a trauma hospital also means it will provide services for pediatric emergency and trauma services. Other departments will be included to provide the highest quality and safest care, Paletta said.

“I am excited to have Lehi as the location for this new facility,” Lehi Mayor Mark Johnson said. “Few projects have generated the amount of interest that this hospital has and frankly, the site could not be better. Located adjacent to a major transportation corridor it has great access to the central crossroads of Utah.”

The virtual ceremony ended with a pre-taped groundbreaking that included both officials and children who were socially distanced and wearing masks.

The Lehi Primary Children’s Hospital is set to open in 2023, when it will begin serving the ever-growing Utah County.