Topping Out a Worthwhile Project

American Family Children's Hospital is one step closer to reality

Madison, Wis. (Aug. 29, 2006) — A giant crane lifted the final steel beam into place recently for a “topping out” ceremony at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. The facility, part of University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, is scheduled to open in August 2007.

The event marked another milestone as the $78 million project nears completion. American Family’s initial $10 million donation several years ago allowed the long-time dream to become a reality.

American Family employee and agent contributions, accompanied by a generous company match, have increased that contribution in recent years.

Most of the money for the project has been raised, with less than $8.5 million to go. Officials with the University of Wisconsin Foundation are optimistic all funding will be in place by early next year. American Family Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Harvey Pierce coined the slogan for the fundraising campaign with his comment that “there’s no finer gift” than to help children in need.

“The American Family Children’s Hospital will provide world-class care to children and their families for generations to come,” said Rick Fetherston, vice president of public relations, at the topping out ceremony. “It will be a lasting tribute to American Family’s commitment to families and community involvement.”

Fetherston thanked “each individual who contributed to the project and the men and women who are using their talents to build this great hospital.”

Adjacent to UW Hospital and Clinics, American Family Children’s Hospital will be a world-class facility dedicated to the care and treatment of children and their families. The hospital will support full integration of clinical care, academic programs and research initiatives to produce a state-of-the-art enterprise unique in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

When fully completed, the 252,000-square-foot building will include at least 80 beds and cribs (30 percent more than the current UW Children’s Hospital), larger rooms (averaging 270 square feet with parent sleep, bath and storage space) and expanded classroom and play areas.

“The American Family Children’s Hospital will provide our young patients and their families with a facility that is on par with the stellar quality of our pediatric physicians, nursing staff and other highly-trained caregivers,” said Donna Sollenberger, UW Hospital and Clinics president and chief executive officer.

“As a result, families will find their experience less stressful, more comforting and ultimately, one that promotes a better healing environment for their child,” she said.

More information about American Family Children’s Hospital and how to donate is available at