Albemarle Hospital is a community hospital located in Elizabeth City that serves the rural region of northeastern North Carolina. The goal of this project was to renovate and update the hospital's existing Women's Center, which included Labor & Delivery, Postpartum, and the connecting corridor.

The design intent was to develop a new look that would provide a comfortable, homelike feeling for patients but would also reflect the high quality of care provided by the hospital. The key to the new design was to develop an atmosphere that would be comfortable for women of a variety of ages and ethnicities. Thus, a quilt theme was decided on as a way to tie the design for the three areas together.

Highlights of the project are the new entrance to the Women's Center, updated finishes that use more natural materials and color schemes, nurses' stations with patterned acrylic panels to provide privacy, and new lighting in corridors and patient rooms. Patient rooms received new furnishings and window treatments, and bathrooms were updated with ceramic tile and accessories to emphasize a feeling of home.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed March 2006)

Chief administrator: Sharon M. Tanner, President & CEO, (252) 384-4600

Firm: Hummel Associates, (804) 643-7337

Design team: Cheryl Hummel Palmore, CID, Design Director; Kathryn Pelegrinelli, Project Manager

Photography: Kathryn Pelegrinelli (before photos); Richard Muldez Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 9,584

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $31

Total construction cost (excluding land): $300,000

Even with a tight budget, the design intent was achieved. The outcome of this project has been extremely positive. Both patients and staff are ecstatic over the changes to the Women's Center and are looking forward to seeing similar updates to other departments within the hospital.