The new Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, which was dedicated on November 13, 2012, includes three green roofs. Many patient rooms face the 6,000-square-foot rooftop terrace green roof, which features a 750-square-foot deck structure for the exclusive enjoyment of patients and their families. The LiveRoof® Hybrid Green Roof System was selected for the terrace green roof, which was installed by Davis Landscape, Ltd. with plants grown by Creek Hill Nursery.

LiveRoof Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital Green Roof

LiveRoof Installation for the Terrace Green Roof, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital

“Incorporation of natural spaces like green roofs helps Penn State Hershey fulfill our mission of providing comprehensive care to sick or injured children and their families, care that is focused on them and designed to help them heal not only physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well,” said Richard Aradine, director of design and construction, Penn State Hershey Medical Center. “Inclusion of these green spaces also puts us in a good position to achieve LEED certification for the new Children’s Hospital building, a commitment we’ve made for all new construction on our campus.”

“Views of beautiful landscapes and access to green space were central considerations and drivers in the design of the new building,” said Leon Drachman, AIA, principal, Payette (Boston, Mass.), project architect. “A series of courtyards ranging from large, public gathering spaces to private healing spaces, secret gardens and the rooftop terrace joins the network of existing green spaces to connect patients, families and caregivers back to the landscape.”

“We recommended and specified LiveRoof for the rooftop terrace green roof,” said Sara Cohen, associate, Hargreaves Associates (Cambridge, Mass.), the landscape architecture firm for the project. “With full-grown plants, it immediately expresses the banded design of the green roof, and its modules establish an integrated, sustainable ecosystem across the installation.”

“We delivered the LiveRoof modules full of regionally adapted and locally cultivated plants that were mature, thriving, and ready for the rigors of the rooftop environment,” said Paul Cook, LiveRoof and LiveWall sales associate, Creek Hill Nursery (Leola, Pa.). “Because the root systems were well-established, when Davis Landscape cut the modules to conform to the radius of the deck, the plants and soil held in place.” Creek Hill is LiveRoof’s licensed regional grower and distributor for Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and parts of New Jersey.

The green roofs are incorporated into the design of the recently completed 263,000-square-foot, six-floor facility — the new home of Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, which has been ranked in three specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012-13 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. It includes two procedure rooms and five operating suites designed for the surgical and procedural care of children and adolescents, 13 pre-operative beds and a 16-bed post-anesthesia surgical recovery area, a cardiac catheterization lab for pediatric heart patients (all located on the second floor), as well as significantly expanded space for pediatric intensive care, which is vital infrastructure to support the role of Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital as the region’s only Level One Pediatric Trauma Center.

All patient rooms in the new building are private and designed to comfortably accommodate the whole family as well as allow staff to monitor patients while maintaining a family’s privacy and quiet time together. A family resource space, including a safety center, provides all parents in the community with the tools and information to help keep kids safe and healthy.

In addition to the green roofs, other amenities designed to encourage healing and to let kids be kids, even while at the hospital, include a performing arts area, a meditation space, interactive play areas, and a learning wall. The building incorporates natural light in most spaces and architectural details and finishes that evoke the natural world, such as the “waterfall” window on the east end of the building and large wall images of plant and animal life that adorn many public areas.

Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Founded in 1963 through a gift from The Milton S. Hershey Foundation, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a leading academic medical center located in Hershey, Pa. The 491-bed Medical Center is a provider of high-level, patient-focused medical care. The Medical Center campus includes Penn State College of Medicine (Penn State’s medical school), Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, and Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital — the region’s only children’s hospital. The Medical Center campus is part of Penn State Hershey Health System, which also includes the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital, and other specialty facilities. On the Web at


LiveRoof®, LLC (, Spring Lake, Mich., is the top horticultural science company in the green roof industry. Exceptional in design and function, the LiveRoof® Hybrid Green Roof System is the most refined horticultural solution. LiveRoof establishes a healthy, sustainable ecosystem that covers the rooftop with seamless vegetation. Licensed regional growers customize plant selection for every LiveRoof project. They deliver the system’s modules abundantly vegetated with locally cultivated, full-grown plants for an instant green roof and trouble-free ownership. LiveRoof’s natural function and natural beauty offer the highest level of green roof performance with ultra-low maintenance costs. The proof is on the roof — showcased in over 725 installations that total more than 2.3 million square feet.

Photo Credit: Darrell Peterson, Penn State College of Medicine