Next month, Seattle Children's hospital will open a $75 million clinic and outpatient-surgery center in Bellevue's busy hospital district on the east side of Interstate 405, a short distance from Overlake Hospital Medical Center.

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The location says “health care,” but the building’s vibrant colors, comfortable spaces and carefully thought-out layouts are designed to calm young patients anxious about a trip to the doctor — or the operating room.

Next month, Seattle Children’s hospital will open a $75 million clinic and outpatient-surgery center in Bellevue’s busy hospital district on the east side of Interstate 405, a short distance from Overlake Hospital Medical Center.

It’s a striking two-story building, with unconventional bright blue and orange splashes on the big mechanical screens atop the roof. Inside, the doors to its exam rooms are painted with fanciful Northwest creatures. Big windows and skylights throughout make it a bright, light-filled building.

Seattle Children’s has had a small clinic, with 12 exam rooms, in Bellevue for a number of years. The new clinic and surgery center, which opens July 20, has 32 exam rooms, two operating rooms and an MRI for imaging, greatly expanding the types of illnesses that can be treated and procedures that can be done in Bellevue, clinic Director Paula Holmes said.

It’s designed for children who need outpatient care — tonsillitis, for example, or a hernia or broken arm — but are otherwise healthy, and don’t need the more intensive level of care found at Seattle Children’s hospital in Seattle, Holmes said. Patients from around the region will be offered the option to go to the Bellevue center for outpatient surgeries, she said.

The building was designed to ease children through scary medical procedures like MRIs or operations like implanting ear tubes, Holmes said.

For example, when they’re going in for an operation, kids receive anesthesia in rooms directly adjoining the operating room. And when the surgery is over, they will recover in a connected area — eliminating that anxiety-inducing trip on a stretcher through hospital corridors.

The clinic’s physical-therapy room is designed for kids, with a half-size basketball court and a ballet barre. Children recovering from injuries will have the chance to play their way through physical-therapy exercises, or to demonstrate where it hurts as they go through a range of motions.

Very few clinics “have nice, functional space specific to the sports needs of kids,” said Laura Crooks, director of rehabilitation services for the clinic.

Bellevue’s medical complex has grown dramatically in the past three years.

Overlake Hospital Medical Center opened a $134 million, 104-bed expansion in 2007. It now is building a seven-story, $90 million medical-office building to house mostly independent practitioners that is scheduled to open in September 2011.

Group Health opened its Bellevue Medical Center, a four-story outpatient surgery center and medical-office building, in 2008.

City officials say employment in the health-care and social-assistance sectors in Bellevue increased nearly 50 percent from 2000 to 2009, climbing to 14,800 jobs from just over 10,000. The Seattle Children’s clinic will employ 65 people.

The Children’s clinic will be open every day of the year. During the evenings on weekdays, and all weekend long, the clinic will become an urgent-care center, welcoming walk-ins.

Hospital officials expect Eastside doctors to refer their patients to the clinic after office hours and on weekends.

The building was designed by the architectural firm NBBJ and built by Sellen Construction. It was designed with a number of energy-saving features that should cut energy consumption by about 50 percent, and the hospital is planning to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold status — recognition that the building is environmentally friendly and energy-efficient.

It’s also the first new building to open in the city’s Bel-Red Corridor, an industrial area that the city wants to see redeveloped into dense, urban office and residential space designed around Sound Transit’s Eastlink light-rail line.

Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or