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Final Beam Raising Ceremony

Dignity Health Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Celebrates Final Beam Raising Ceremony for the Pediatric Surgical Suites Project at the Lauren Small Children’s Center

Topping-off ceremony marks a significant achievement in expansion of pediatric surgical services in Kern County 

BAKERSFIELD, CA - February 16, 2024 - Dignity Health Memorial Hospital and the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation celebrated a major construction milestone with a beam raising ceremony for the Pediatric Surgical Suites Project at the Lauren Small Children’s Center. Hospital leaders, staff, donors, board members, and construction crews gathered as the final beam was lifted into place, adorned with signatures commemorating the event.

The topping-off ceremony signified that the structural phase of construction has been completed. This pediatric expansion project features state-of-the-art operating rooms and equipment and will allow Memorial’s surgical teams to be specially trained to meet the unique needs of pediatric patients in Bakersfield and surrounding communities. 

“Today’s beam raising is symbolic of Memorial’s ongoing commitment to raising the standard of care for local pediatric patients. From routine procedures to complex surgeries, families can expect the highest quality, state-of-the-art services in a compassionate, child-friendly environment,” said Ken Keller, President & CEO of Memorial Hospital. “This milestone brings us one step closer to advancing pediatric surgical services, improving health outcomes for children in our community, and keeping more families here in Bakersfield while their child receives care.”

The Pediatric Surgical Suites Project is funded through a $14.8 million Children’s Health grant. An additional $2 million has been made possible through the generosity of long-time supporters of Memorial Hospital, Tuesdy and Kevin Small through their charitable foundation, the Small Miracles Foundation and The Lauren Small Benefit Roping, and Cassie Wright and the Wright Family Foundation. 

“We are profoundly grateful to our donors for their commitment to support the advancement of pediatric medicine in our region,” said Ken Keller. “Their exceptional generosity will have a lasting impact on the lives of countless children and families.”

The Pediatric Surgical Suites Project will include a new 5000 sq. ft. space with two dedicated pediatric operating rooms, a 6-station pre- and post-anesthesia unit (PACU), and a pediatric nurse’s station. The surgical suites will be equipped with leading-edge technology specifically for the treatment of pediatric patients from infants to adolescents. In addition to specially trained nurses and techs, Memorial Hospital will also recruit two resident pediatric surgeons. The expected completion date is early 2025. 


About Memorial Hospital Bakersfield

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is a 385 bed acute care medical center offering a full range of services including the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center, S.A. Camp Companies Burn Unit at the Grossman Burn Center, expanded maternity and family care, the Lauren Small Children’s Center including the area’s only dedicated pediatric emergency room, orthopedic services, wound care center, 24-hour emergency care and general/outpatient surgery. Memorial Hospital is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and is home to the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House and Hope House. A member of CommonSpirit Health, Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is a trusted community partner, serving residents of Bakersfield and Kern County with quality, compassionate care since 1956. Learn more at

Publish date: 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Media Contact


Violeta Trujillo

p: (661) 541-0322

[email protected]