Community, United Hospital

Rooftop Garden Completed at Spectrum Health United Hospital

New “green roof” to brighten the stay for families and visitors at birthing center.

GREENVILLE, Mich., September 30, 2020 – Patients and visitors to the Spectrum Health United Hospital Family Birthing Center will now enjoy vibrant views of a newly completed “green roof.”

Funded entirely through philanthropy, the rooftop garden offers a healthy and healing environment outside the birthing center for all to enjoy.

Harriette Cook, the longtime Greenville resident who now resides in California, made the lead gift to the project. She and her late husband Bill were also lead donors to the $1.4 million birthing center renovation and expansion in 2014.

Cook remembers celebrating the opening of the renovated birthing center in 2014 and looking out onto a barren and unsightly roof.

“It just seemed to detract from the beautiful, new rooms,” she said.

Not anymore.

The new roof and roof walls are filled with various sedum plants, as well as a variety of perennials and annuals.

“Boy is it beautiful from the pictures I’ve seen,” Cook said.

Shelly Westbrook, director of the Spectrum Health Foundation United and Kelsey Hospitals, agrees completely.

“It’s so pretty—breathtaking actually,” Westbrook said. “The green roof has transformed the space and further enhances the comfort and care of our patients and their families.”

United Hospital OBGYN physicians were also key donors to the project. Ruth Bruce, DO, Connie Januzelli, DO, Kristina Mixer, MD, and Andrea Sterling, DO, along with other medical staff at United and Kelsey Hospitals, brought the project to fruition.

“We’re so appreciative of the donors who embraced this vision,” Westbrook said. “The green roof provides wonderful aesthetics along with environmental and structural benefits to the hospital.”

The rooftop garden will reduce air pollution and capture carbon and rainwater runoff.

“It provides a unique experience for patients, guests and staff, and is a visual representation of Spectrum Health’s commitment to the community,” Westbrook said.

Cook said the rooftop garden may also inspire others to support the hospital in the future.

“It may make an impression on young couples that are in having babies when they see how pretty it can be, so maybe they’ll become benevolent in their older years,” she said.

The Cooks lived in Greenville for 60 years and all three of their children were born at United Hospital. In addition to the birthing center expansion, they’ve contributed to many projects large and small over the years.

“The hospital is the crown jewel of the community,” Cook said. “We’ve always had great affection for it.”

Due to COVID-19, there is not an open house currently scheduled to view the roof.


Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $585 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

John Norton
Corporate Communications Manager
Office: 231.592.4387
Mobile: 231.580.1079