GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has announced the name of its new children’s rehabilitation hospital: the Joan Secchia Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital.

Joan Secchia, wife of former Ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia, is a local philanthropist. Mary Free Bed said, “The Secchia family’s dedication to improving the lives of others, especially children, has left an enduring mark on West Michigan.”

“I was ecstatic (when the idea was presented to me). I think it’s something that we need to have, and I learned about it way, way in the beginning before it was really fleshed out, and now it’s coming together. Some wonderful people are working on it and it’s going to be fabulous,” Joan Secchia said.

“Joan has always believed in the power of community and the importance of giving back,” Kent Riddle, CEO of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, said in a release. “Her philanthropic efforts have impacted countless lives, and this naming serves as both a tribute to her commitment and a promise of the high-quality care we aim to provide.”

The Joan Secchia Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital will replace the parking lot across the road from Mary Free Bed’s main campus, on the southeast corner of Wealthy Street and Jefferson Avenue SE. A skywalk over the street will connect the new hospital to Mary Free Bed’s main hospital.

A rendering of the Joan Secchia Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital by Mary Free Bed and Corewell Health. (Courtesy of Pure Architect)

The groundbreaking is planned for spring 2024 with expected completion by 2026.

Once complete, the Joan Secchia Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital will be the first children’s rehabilitation hospital in Michigan and the ninth facility of its kind in the nation.