Fundraising group pledges $20M toward pediatric expansion

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Supporters are pledging another $20 million toward expanding pediatric facilities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Leaders of the Friends of Children’s Hospital, which raises money for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital and associated clinics, pledged Tuesday to reach that goal over 10 years. The group has raised $17 million since 1989.

The medical center is seeking $100 million for a new hospital wing, renovations and an offsite clinic. Including a $10 million pledge from leaders of Laurel-based Sanderson Farms, supporters have committed more than $33 million.

Chief Development Officer Travis Bradburn says work on the expansion could start early next year. Medical center chief Dr. LouAnn Woodward says leaders hope state lawmakers will give the project more money, but plan to start construction even if they don’t.