HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — If there has been a second pandemic, it’s behavioral health, especially with children. A $280 million expansion plan is in the works at Connecticut Children’s in Hartford.

Anchoring the expansion project will be a 190,000-square-foot eight-story tower that would add a total of 59 beds at Children’s, which is located next door to Hartford Hospital.

Perhaps the most ambitious part of the plan would be to become a national center for fetal care. If so, it would become one of only a handful of centers that offer this kind of care, and Connecticut families could stay here rather than travel outside the state.

Connecticut Children’s officials say after 25 years, they have outgrown the facility.

“We have just become such a large destination for care for patients throughout the region and across the country that we need to expand and serve more children,” said Ryan Calhoun, vice president of strategy and care integration at Children’s. “We are going to be adding 50 NICU beds, and that is the plan to be able to expand our ability to serve our smallest patients.”

Calhoun said they have outgrown the ability to serve meals to their patients and will need a new kitchen. With that, they will hire cooks, food service employees and support services, in addition to doctors, nurses and specialists.

With respect to construction and the workforce, he said he expects this to create 500 new jobs.

The plan is still pending state approval.