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Lehi City News

OPINION: Tour of Lehi’s new Primary Children’s Hospital an emotional experience



By: Donna Barnes / Lehi Free Press

On a dreary, rainy afternoon last week, I pulled into the parking lot of the recently dedicated Primary Children’s Hospital in Lehi. The media parking area was just feet from the Children’s Emergency Entrance.

As I stepped into the building, I was immediately struck by its bright, happy interior. Hospital personnel in white and green coats guided groups of people down the hallways. I could hear children’s laughter as they played with the walls of games, pictures, and videos. 

An older couple handed out sugar cookies and warm, gray beanies with the Intermountain Health logo embroidered on the cuff to everyone who passed by. “Our son, Jeffrey Johnson, just retired from the Navy and is an emergency nurse at the hospital. We traveled from Nevada to volunteer to help with the dedication. We are so excited to be here,” they shared. Their smiles and kindness were evident as visitors gathered around them.

I walked to the hospital’s main entrance and admired the new gift shop. There was a bee-themed window display filled with toy bees, onesies, sweaters, slippers and more. The shop felt fun and lighthearted. The food court was a happy hub of visitors, all commenting on the friendly ambiance of the area.

I noticed a young woman on a bench observing the event. I spoke to her and learned her name was Adrianna Cluff. Cluff is a cardiac intensive care nurse at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Her enthusiasm for the new hospital was evident. 

“We are running out of room where I am. It is so exciting for all the families in Utah County to have this wonderful hospital so close by,” she said.


The Ebert family from Orem was gathered near the entrance, and the children admired the décor of kid-focused games, pictures, and activities. Dr. Brian Ebert is an anesthesiologist at Utah Valley Hospital.

“My husband spends every day at the hospital,” said Katherine Ebert, his wife. “We wanted our kids, Maxwell, Alice, and Eliza, to see what the inside of a hospital looks like so they have a better idea of the place where their dad works every day.”

Not far from the main entrance, one hall struck an emotional chord. Plaques lined the walls, listing all the donors who contributed funds for the hospital’s construction. Notable donors included the Gail and Larry Miller Family, who had donated $50 million, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who donated $25 million. The halls contained many more names of those who had donated hundreds of thousands, even millions, to build this fantastic facility.

With tears in my eyes, I couldn’t help but remember the night 16 years ago when my grandson was born. He was transported to Primary Children’s in Salt Lake after being born with a collapsed left lung and pneumonia. The prognosis was not good,and he was in the NICU for three weeks. That boy is now a healthy young man playing baseball in Las Vegas. 

I know many families who have had some intervention at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Now, this new hospital is minutes from thousands of children living in North Utah County. I am grateful for the vision, hard work, financial contributions, and dedication to the children of this area by Intermountain and the donors. This facility and its personnel will save many lives in Lehi and the surrounding towns. 

It takes courage, determination, and just plain grit to complete a facility of this magnificence. I applaud Gail Miller and so many others- too many to mention- for providing a source of life-saving care. I, for one, will be forever grateful.

The new Primary Children’s campus is at 2250 N. Miller Campus Drive, Lehi and will open for patient care on Monday, Feb. 12.