When the owners of Park Place Medical Center and Mid-Jefferson Hospital challenged our firm to design a new facility to house the programs from both hospitals, we began a collaboration that resulted in delivery of the new facility within 30 months of our initial meeting with the client.

This facility is intended to recall the images of the resort hotels that once dotted the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. Traditional elements present a façade that rings with familiarity. The interior continues the coastal resort feel with appropriate colors and finishes. Natural wood is used throughout the building, adding warmth and texture while, hopefully, minimizing the institutional qualities of the spaces.

The main lobby is a two-level space located at the juncture of two of the patient-tower wings. Visitors and outpatients can access all major service points within a short distance of this space, eliminating the need for unescorted persons to navigate through a maze of corridors. Circulation within the ancillary areas of the hospital is organized with major “streets” and “neighborhood” blocks to simplify wayfinding and increase flexibility for future change. Staffing efficiency is improved by vertical stacking of service elements throughout the facility.

All patient rooms are private, with windows providing views of the surrounding community. Window treatments and artwork in each of the patient rooms work to shatter the institutional image of the facility. Patient rooms are configured on a traditional cross-shaped patient floor, and the distance from the most remote patient room to the nurses' station does not exceed 75 feet. Staff lounges on the patient floors are located along the exterior wall to allow natural light and views to be enjoyed from these spaces.

The facility is designed to embrace the most current technology for patient care, such as PACS, wireless networking throughout patient floors for bedside electronic charting, integrated operating rooms for teaching, and a robotic system for the pharmacy. All of these technologies were identified early in the process, and implementation has been seamless. By all accounts, the inclusion of these technologies has improved the medical outcomes of the patients while increasing caregiver productivity.

Project category: New construction (completed April 2005)

Chief administrator: Craig Desmond, Chief Executive Officer, (409) 985-0114

Firm: Thomas, Miller & Partners, LLC, (615) 377-9773

Design team: Joey Abney, Vice-President, Design and Construction (IASIS Healthcare); Architect, Thomas, Miller and Partners, LLC; Mike Uresti, Vice-President, Facilities Management (Park Place/Mid-Jefferson Hospital); Contractor, R.J. Griffin & Company

Photography: ©2005 Rion Rizzo, Creative Sources Photography, Inc.; Curtis Coleman, Thomas, Miller & Partners, LLC

Total building area (sq. ft.): 350,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $197

Total construction cost (excluding land): $69,000,000.