Project category: Addition (completed July 2005)

Chief administrator: Jerry Peters, Director of Facilities, (302) 674-4700

Firm: EwingCole, (215) 923-2020

Design team: Howard Skoke, AIA, Project Designer; Jay Blose, AIA, Project Manager; Fletcher MacNeill, AIA, LEED AP, Planner; Stephanie King, LEED AP, Interior Designer

Photography: Jeffrey Totaro

Total building area (sq. ft.): 85,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $224

Total construction cost (excluding land): $19,000,000

Bayhealth Medical Center realized the need to provide additional efficient acute care hospital space to serve maternity and newborn care services. The design team vertically expanded the existing, three-story, 1986 building on the center's Kent Campus with an additional four floors to better serve patients, families, and staff.

One of Bayhealth's goals for the facility was to achieve “enhanced patient satisfaction and retention with 5-Star Service and exemplary quality care.” The design of the Center for Women and Infants, occupying two floors of the expansion, embodies the 5-Star Service model by creating a welcoming and hospitable environment for women and their families during all phases of birth-related care, and an efficient workplace for staff. The state-of-the-art facility merges Planetree patient-care concepts with hospitality design. The result is a contemporary, open atmosphere that embraces daylight, exterior views, and a natural color palette.

The heart of the Center for Women and Infants is a two-story atrium with a skylight and spiral staircase. The circular atrium spirals outward to welcome patients and visitors, while also pulling daylight into the interior of both floors. Natural light is a key design concept in creating both a healing and aesthetically pleasing environment for patients and their families. The central stair is accentuated by a frosted glass railing that reflects light throughout the space.

Core functions—such as the 15-pod Special Care Nursery, 10-room Labor/Delivery/Recovery suite, two-room C-Section suite, 26-room Postpartum Nursing Unit, On-Call Suites, and the Perinatology Suite—are located adjacent to the atrium for easy wayfinding. The colors and finishes on both floors make use of a soothing palette of sand and gold tones, with accents of gray, blue, and natural wood. The design creates a warm and nurturing environment for women.