Adirondack Medical Center is located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The primary goals of this small acute care hospital were to provide a comfortable and familiar setting for regional folks, as well as to equip the hospital for future technologic challenges. The issues of their existing floor plan included outmoded patient care areas and lack of space, a main entry that was physically remote and vertically separated from the patient care areas, and an outdated infrastructure.

Working interactively with the owner, user groups, and the community, we created an exterior design that incorporated elements from the nearby early-19th-century downtown buildings. A curved canopy, with a modern interpretation of the “stick-built” style made famous by the Adirondack camps, welcomes visitors.

A large sky-lit lobby brings natural light far into the building and provides a gathering space that has become the heart of the hospital. The warm Adirondack aesthetic has been reinforced by the owner's furniture and wallcovering selections, and by natural wood millwork throughout the facility.

Placement of the new entrance and main lobby at the center of the hospital facilitates direct access to patient care areas and the new Medical Office Building. A new circulation system provides a “back corridor” where staff, physicians, and patients can efficiently move through departments without crossing paths with visitors and the public.

A new ambulatory care center, with private patient-prep and recovery areas, was created with respect for patient convenience and confidentiality. A newly renovated and relocated Emergency Department provides fast, effective, and private patient registration and treatment. A new LDRP-model birthing center offers a peaceful and family-focused environment, with spacious rooms, residential décor, and exceptional lake views.

The new plan created a more cohesive and organized functional layout and enhanced the healing environment, improving staff efficiency and increasing patient and family satisfaction.

Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed September 2002)

Chief administrator: Chandler Ralph, CEO, (518) 891-4141

Firm: MorrisSwitzer~Environments for Health, (802) 878-8841

Design team: Michael Smith, Construction Project Manager (DEW Construction Co. [DBA Health Care Building Co.]); Robert Neeld, Structural Engineering (Engineering Ventures); Glen LeComte, MEP Engineering (Argus Engineers); Wayne Ryan, Civil Engineering (AES Northeast)

Photography: © Carolyn Bates Photography

Total building area (GSF): 47,700 (new; including Medical Office Building); 60,000 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $139 (average, including expansion and renovation)

Total cost (excluding land): $15,000,000