BOUNTIFUL, Utah — The COVID-19 pandemic was a tough time for health care workers across the country and the world.
While some read books or hit the outdoors, one woman in Utah found a unique way to help herself get through it.
Lexi, an X-ray technician at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful, decided to build her own miniature hospital and an entire community surrounding it.
"St. Marci’s" is located in "Lexiville" — a busy Lego metropolis filled with beachfront activities, a firehouse, a zoo, coffee shops, donut shops, a newspaper, and much, much more.
There's even a Lego FOX 13 News reporter Spencer Joseph, reporting with a photographer and news van on the streets.
Lexiville is a fictional creation forming an amazing collection of people and buildings, all from Lexi's imagination.
“The first part was actually all of the buildings,” Lexi said. “I buy a lot of sets and I have a lot of parts left over from the stuff that I don't use. But a lot of the extra sets come from the internet and I had them on a shelf, and my girlfriend said, you know, 'Why don't you just actually just make a city out of them? that would look great.'”
It was a source of relaxation for her through the pandemic, as it always has been.
It all started with a small fire engine when she was about five years old, and it has blossomed into a hobby.
Lexi and her partner now also run a website called "Chicks with Brix," where they sell all kinds of Lego parts from sets they've bought or excess they have.
That supply has allowed them to build some of the most amazing pieces that have been released and create the incredible Lexiville.
“I don't know, it's just something therapeutic about snapping the pieces together, just building things. This is really just how I flex my creative side,” Lexi said. "That was the start of it, and then it just kind of grew and grew, and then I started getting ideas for new buildings. I thought, 'Hey, we're gonna do a hospital.'"
A hospital was the perfect addition because when she isn’t helping her Lego characters, Lexi is helping real-life patients at her job in the MountainStar Healthcare system.
“Just to be able to use that to help people — I'm very passionate about that,” she said.
The design of this new hospital, however, took inspiration from a real-life hospital.
The build is perfect down to the smallest detail, If you were a Lego character, you would be in good hands there.
“I just use my experience to inform the design and layout that the entire build,” she said. “I built, like, kind of the shell at first.”
Work then turned to the inside, where there is a radiology department, an X-ray room including an adjustable X-ray tube, a CT scanner, an operating room, patient rooms, an emergency room, a nursery, an optometrist, a helicopter with a landing pad, and more.
Beyond that, there are backstories to every character inside the hospital.
“There's a couple of construction workers in the ER. One of them has dislocated his arm — he's in a lot of pain," she said, describing one of the many backstories. “The other one has just received some pain medication so he's looking kind of crazy.”
Right next door is "Pride Square," which Lexi built herself.
“I'm very proud of it," she said.
It's also to honor the namesake of the hospital.
"I named it after my favorite surgeon, Marci Bowers," Lexi said.
Dr. Marci Bowers is a pioneer of gender confirmation/affirmation surgery and is also the first transgender woman to perform such surgeries.
"She's my personal surgeon," Lexi added. "I love her to death; she's an amazing human being."
Lexiville and St. Marci’s are now topics of conversation at the real Lakeview Hospital, serving as an inspiration to all of their staff.
The hospital recently posted photos of Lexi's hospital, with the caption saying in part: “On and off for the past year she has been constructing St. Marci’s Hospital, an entirely Lego hospital with snapshots of day-to-day hospital life pulled from her experiences as a health care worker and coupling it with her love of Lego!”
Lexi hopes the creative build honors her coworkers and all other health care workers.
"Regardless of who they are, how they identify, I think we do a great job of that at Lakeview," she said about being inclusive to all. "We have a really good team, and so I wanted to reflect that in St. Marci’s."
Lexi admits it will be a never-ending build, but it is all to spread love and inspiration inside real hospitals and their Lego equivalents.
“I just wanted to express love for everybody because, I mean, that's what we're here for as health care workers. We take care of everybody," she said. “Nobody's excluded if you need help. We help you!”
What's next for Lexiville? Well, a budget has been approved for a subway running under the city, but the hospital is now up and running for all of Lexiville's residents.