ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The halls and rooms of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital are at last filled with young patients and staff. Nearly 40 children made the move on Tuesday morning.

This has been a long time coming since the University of Rochester Medical Center began building the $145 million project in September of 2012. Administrators said they have rehearsed the move for weeks and it went incredibly well. Along the way, children participated in a scavenger hunt, were given “Sandy Strong” backpacks and had the chance to cut a ribbon before entering their new rooms.

Even after 12 days in Golisano Children’s Hospital recovering from a ruptured appendix, George Alejandro, 12, was able to smile brightly during his move.

“I liked how they brought us here. They made us a little scavenger hunt. On my way here they gave us certain items. They gave me a pinwheel, a leaf, a rock and a bag of seeds,” said Alejandro.

Once in his new room, Alejandro and his family said they could see the difference.

“This room is awesome because the main thing that I like about this room is that it’s just you and the people you personally know. The old room it was for two patients, so you had the people you know personally and the other people. You kind of had less freedom,” said Alejandro.

Amid the joy of the day however, it was also bittersweet for all those who had worked in the old hospital. Golisano Children’s Hospital Chief Nina Schor said she first felt that emotion weeks ago during a dedication ceremony.

“That was the first moment at which I truly realized that for people who had worked, some of them for decades in the old children’s hospital, that this wasn’t just a very, very happy saying hello to a new facility, it was a saying goodbye to a place in which they had cared for many, many children over decades,” Schor said.

While Alejandro is looking forward to going home in a few days, he and his mother know that isn’t always the case for other children, so they’re glad they'll have a nice new home away from home.

“It’s very stressful anytime you have to be in the hospital. So, just having a pleasant environment I think it’s just less stress for the parents. I think the kids feel much better. I can just see how this is going to be really positive for everybody,” said Alejandro’s mother Miriam Aarsen Alejandro. 

Leaders at UR Medicine said there is no other facility of its kind in upstate New York. Inside the 245,000 square foot facility, the young patients will be treated to pirate ship and seascape themes to make the hospital experience more kid and family-friendly.