Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed September 2005)

Chief administrator: Joe Morris, CEO, (208) 666-2003

Firm: Northwest Architectural Company, (509) 838-8240

Design team: William M. Podobnik, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Michael R. O'Malley, AIA, Project Manager; Jeani Natwick, NCIDQ, Healthcare Planner; Dan A. Kurtz, AIA, Project Architect (Northwest Architectural Company); De Ann Arnholtz, PE, Structural Engineer; Traci Hanegan, PE, Mechanical Engineer (Coffman Engineers)

Photography: Rick Keating, RK Productions

Total building area (sq. ft.): 46,500 (new); 6,600 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $216 (new); $280 (renovation)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $10,062,000 (new); $1,848,000 (renovation)


Kootenai Medical Center (KMC), a 246-bed facility in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, implemented the first phase of a long-range plan to meet the needs of this rapidly growing Northwest community, convey the high quality of professional care to be found within the medical center, and provide a welcoming and healing environment for patients and families. The Phase 1 addition and remodeling redefined KMC's outpatient services, established a new cardiac care service, and modernized several associated departments. The three-story, 46,500-sq.-ft. addition includes an MRI center, a heart center with two cath labs and dedicated patient rooms, and new cardiovascular operating rooms adjacent to the existing surgery department. A 400-car parking garage and expanded central plant were later phases of the project.

Project goals focused on enhancing the patient's experience in a caring environment and providing a smooth, efficient workflow for the caregivers. The interior design expresses the Northwest character of North Idaho through the use of wood, stone, and warm colors, with a contemporary interpretation of metals reflecting the region's mining history. A new outpatient lobby—the project's centerpiece— conveys a hospitality theme and sense of arrival, with a two-story atrium to welcome patients and families. The lobby directs arrivals to the new MRI and heart centers through open waiting areas, connects directly to the existing outpatient surgery center and emergency department, and redefines circulation to the remainder of the hospital. Colors, fabrics and furniture throughout the facility were chosen for their capacity to provide a comforting, soothing healing environment, reflective of this lakeside resort community.


To promote a uniform campus theme, the addition's exterior utilizes the same high-tech metal skin system and colors as the existing facility. Accentuated south and west sunscreens serve as major design elements to identify the outpatient entry and establish a theme of defining patient entry points throughout the campus.

The most significant challenge of the project was constructing the top two floors of the cardiac care center over a one-story emergency department, which involved threading new columns to new foundations below and keeping the emergency department operational in an infection-controlled environment.

Based on patient satisfaction and successful physician recruitment, the facility has achieved its initial goals, and KMC is now beginning planning on Phase 2 of the master plan, helping KMC realize its vision of providing safe, quality, compassionate healthcare.