UT Medical Center NICU [Knoxville, TN]
In February 2007, work was completed on a new 58-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the UT Medical Center. The hospital's NICU cares for about 800 babies each year. Contemporary concepts in neonatal care are integrated into the unit's design, including private rooms that allow for individual control of noise, temperature, and indirect/dimmable lighting. This concept is a radical departure from the current standard, in which all beds share a large, open-plan room. Recent studies show that mimicking a “womb-like” environment tailored to the needs of each newborn improves the quality of care and encourages greater interaction among family members.
Environments such as this can also improve the speed with which infants gain weight, allowing them to go home sooner. At UT Medical Center, both mother and baby stay in the same area, easing anxiety and encouraging bonding during the newborn's critical first days.
Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed February 2007)
Chief administrator: Ted Bloomfield, Director, Office of Facility Planning, (865) 544-9510
Firm: BarberMcMurry architects, (865) 934-1915
Design team: Chuck Griffin, Partner-in-Charge; Laura Johnston, Project Manager (BarberMcMurry architects); Ted Bloomfield, Owner's Representative; Heather King, Interior Designer (University of Tennessee Medical Center)
Photography: Robert Cathey, BarberMcMurry architects; Charlie Brooks Photography
Total building area (sq. ft.): 10,066
Construction cost/sq. ft.: $246
Total construction cost (excluding land): $2,474,000
The unit is the region's first and only designated Level III private-room NICU. The UT Medical Center NICU is one of only a few nationwide to offer private rooms. They are arranged in coves of 10 to 12 rooms, each isolated from noise and light.
The renovation also provided a new central reception area for all Center for Women & Children's Health services at the hospital, designed to help families and visitors quickly find their destinations.