Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center Welcomes First Patients

“I’m so nervous,” Kirin, 2, told his mom as he started his visit with pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Marwan Bakhach.

Soon nerves yielded to curiosity and playfulness as Kirin gave Dr. Bakhach high fives, growled in honor of the student-designed bear wallpaper in the exam room, and centered himself with deep breaths.

“No pokes today,” Dr. Bakhach told him.

“Just a checkup,” Kirin repeated.

Kirin was Dr. Bakhach’s first patient in the new Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center, which opened Monday, Dec. 20.

The center, a three-story outpatient clinic along 10th Avenue South, is designed as a “healthcare home” for northcentral Montana families. It brings together our women’s health, pediatrics, and pediatric therapies providers, as well as imaging.

Kirin was born not long after the rendering for the center debuted in the fall of 2019, the first look at what would become of the former car lot.

Kirin took a hands-on approach to exploring the new center. He chased leaves along an interactive wall and pet virtual fish. He crawled through a tunnel play area, showed off his light-up snow boots for enthusiastic nurses, and tried to make a break for the third floor, home to Women’s Health, while mom Makayla Dayton filled out paperwork.

“Lots of stuff to look at,” Makayla said.

Encountering the building contractor working on last-minute details, Kirin guessed he must be a fireman. A few finishing touches are underway in the 48,000-square-foot center.

The interactive wall also was a hit with Zeddicus, 9, who giggled as he made virtual leaves move around the screens.

“This is very funny,” he said.

Kinzie Butler, 16, was the Pediatric Department’s first patient of the day.

“It’s really comfortable,” she said. “The rooms are really big, but cozy. I really liked the wallpaper. Cute.”

At only a month old, Vincent was the first Pediatrics baby and the youngest patient of the morning.

“It looks really modern,” mom Rylee Fronk said.

On the third floor, Melody Archuleta was among the first Women’s Health patients in the new center. She said the first thing she noticed was the Café by the front door because she’s pregnant. She also appreciated that the Women’s Health floor has seven bathrooms.

In the two-story atrium, Jeremy Laisnez cuddled Anna, 9 months, as she drained her bottle.

Above them, a dramatic illuminated sculpture of petals cascaded from the ceiling. Around them, light poured through the atrium windows.

The new center is “quite nice,” Jeremy said.

We hope you will check out the new center in the year ahead. To learn more about the features, donors, building, and design, check out Benefis.org/nestingnotes. To make an appointment online, visit our scheduling page.