Baptist Hospital wanted a new look and needed to expand its dietary services. Built in the 1960s, the kitchen and dining areas were outdated and inefficient because of the growth of the hospital. In the 1980s, several minor dining room renovations were made, as well as a small expansion, but the area was still underserved, with dining for only 140 persons.

By relocating an existing lab space, enclosing an underutilized open courtyard, and relocating volunteers' offices to a new building, the hospital was able to obtain the needed square footage to create the appropriately sized dining and kitchen area.

The new dining room, kitchen, and dietary services offices were expanded to 20,000 square feet; the dining room seats 420 patrons. A coffee shop with indoor and outdoor eating space was also planned as part of the dietary expansion, bringing the total expansion to 28,000 square feet.

In the kitchen, 80% of the equipment was replaced with new state-of-the-art amenities, and it is equipped to offer high-end food services, including gourmet foods, indoor grilling, and tastes of different ethnic foods. The kitchen is open 24 hours a day year-round and offers catering for hospital functions.

The design concept resembles a French marketplace. Distinct areas are defined by their functions. For example, the serving area has an open-air shopping flavor, and the condiments station serves as a stopping point for patrons crossing the “street” to a seating area similar to that of an outdoor café.

The ambience is relaxing with an understated elegance. The seating is provided in several different arrangements—high-top bars for fast eating, large sections of four-person tables in the center, and a perimeter of recessed booths with low lighting that provide a more private dining experience. An enclosed private dining room is available for meetings.

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

Chief administrator: Lee S. Huntley, Chief Executive Officer, (305) 596-1960

Firm: MGE Architects, (305) 444-0413

Design team: Pedro A. Goicouria, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Lenny Padron, Project Manager; Kathy Corey, RID, Interior Designer (MGE Architects); William Inman, Food Service Consultant (Inman Food Services Group); MEP Engineers, TLC Engineers

Photography: Scott B. Smith Photography; MGE Architects (“before” photos)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 8,400 (new); 19,600 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $286 (new); $286 (renovation)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $2,400,000 (new); $5,600,000 (renovation)