Previously serving its mental health patient community in a smaller, darker space, Portland, Oregon, community health provider Central City Concern (CCC) was just thrilled to receive a $9 million grant from the federal American Recovery Act to convert a neighboring, abandoned fast food restaurant into the Old Town Recovery Center.
The new 45,000 square-foot, three-story center—tracking LEED Gold certification—effectively doubles CCC’s primary care capacity, integrating it with behavioral mental healthcare services for the center’s largely homeless, uninsured and Medicaid patient population.
“We were at a location that had previously been a probation and parole office. The hallways were narrow and it was dark,” related Kathleen Roy, director of mental health services, in a local news interview by Comcast Newsmakers.
By contrast, the new building is organized around a central densely landscaped courtyard, enclosed on four sides by floor to ceiling glass, with ample daylight and views from surrounding patient waiting areas and the main circulation, explains Paul Jeffreys, RIBA, associate principal and senior designer with the Portland-based architecture firm, SERA Architects, whose firm designed the facility.
“The design aims to complement CCC’s holistic care concept and create a therapeutic healing environment—one that will reduce patient stress and help improve patient outcomes. This ‘oasis’ and ‘place of calm’ is both distractor and de-stressor,” says Jeffreys.
Taking advantage of a recent regulatory change to Oregon’s building code, legalizing reuse of rain water for non-potable use, a combination of low-flow fixtures and a 14,000-gallon rainwater, below-slab tank, using rainwater to flush toilets, resulted in a 77% potable water use reduction for the center.
In addition, a series of sustainable design strategies is enabling the building to come in 30% below Oregon’s code requirements in energy savings, and achieve a 60% target energy use reduction, as compared to the national average per the Architecture 2030 challenge.
In particular, the exterior building envelope was designed with increased continuous cavity insulation, high performance windows and a prototype thermally-broken wall assembly featuring a stand-off, hanging, lightweight, blot-on, galvanized steel, brickwork ledger.
“Mechanical and lighting systems feature advanced controls and strategies such as exhaust air heat recovery, demand control ventilation, night flush cooling and daylight responsive controls,” adds Jeffreys.
Furthermore, the building team—MEP engineer Interface Engineering, contractor Walsh Construction Company and structural engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers—utilized the Green Guide for Healthcare to help with materials and systems selection.
Expanded services beyond mental health treatment now include a pharmacy, yoga and relaxation classes, acupuncture, occupational therapy, help to quit smoking, diabetic management, help with chronic pain and monthly wellness events.
The project consolidates the former Recovery Center, expands the Old Town Clinic, and connects it the adjacent Richard L Harris Building. The second phase of the project involves a future housing development, which can potentially rise an additional five stories above the clinic within the same structure.