FIRST LOOK: Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children Expansion

May 30, 2014
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The Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children expansion includes a five-story atrium flooded with natural light that offers patients and families seating options as well as an open area for community events. Rendering: FKP Architects. The building façade is adorned with multicolored glass designed to resemble butterfly wings, at the request of patients. Rendering: FKP Architects. The first-floor lobby includes a history wall dining area that seats more than 300, as well as a gift shop and safety store. Rendering: FKP Architects. A site plan for the expansion illustrates the location of a rooftop helipad with direct access to critical care and operating rooms at the hospital. Credit: Nemours. The expansion features single-patient rooms with large windows offering views outside and a convertible couch where family members can spend the night, as seen in this mock-up room. Credit: Nemours, Skanska, FKP Architects. ED exam rooms are designed similarly to inpatient rooms with distinct zones for patients, caregivers, and staff, as seen here in this mock-up room. Credit: Nemours, Skanska, FKP Architects.
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From an exterior marked by brightly colored glass designed to resemble butterfly wings to its single-patient rooms, the 450,000-square-foot expansion of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., will be a physical reflection of feedback received from patients and families during the design process.

The $256 million project scheduled to open in October is being delivered by a project team of Nemours, FKP Architects Inc. (Houston), and Skanska USA Building Inc. (Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla.).

Its patient- and family-centered details include 220-square-foot, single-patient rooms with an eye on comfort, including distinct areas for patient, family, and caregivers. Each room contains separate TVs for patients and family; a convertible bed for sleepovers; and plenty of amenities, such as a kitchen table, reading light, and a speaker pillow with nurse call technology for parents. In-room staff workspaces are supported by patient care boards and patient documentation computers.

The building itself is broken into clusters of eight rooms in a neighborhood configuration on each unit, supported by individual team stations and separate medication and storage rooms. All floors include public and staff traffic thoroughfares to control noise and improve infection control.

Another hallmark of the project is an expanded emergency department that nearly doubles the size of the existing hospital’s capacity. The zoned department will house 44 care rooms, including 24 acute exam rooms, nine observation rooms, nine fast-track rooms, and two trauma rooms. Like the inpatient rooms, ED exam rooms feature distinct patient, family, and caregiver zones, with sliding glass doors to provide both privacy and clear sight lines for staff.

Finishing touches include a dining area that seats more than 300, a gift shop, healing gardens and outdoor seating, and a Discovery Zone where kids can interact with different plant species.

Jennifer Kovacs Silvis is managing editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at