The first Center of Excellence of its nature in central Illinois, the Carle Spine Institute consolidated Carle Clinic Association's nonsurgical spine and neck treatment services in a freestanding building on the Carle Foundation Hospital campus. Patients can now consult with their physician or surgeon, receive state-of-the-art imaging services, visit the injection suite, and undergo physical therapy in one convenient, world-class center. Patient volumes have far exceeded projections, thanks to the Spine Institute's visibility and accessibility to the community.

At its heart, the building is designed to enhance the patient experience and invoke a sense of well-being. The striking glass wall serves as an intuitive guide to the entryway, and surface-level parking enhances convenience. Inside, appealing art, energetic colors, warm maple and cherry accents, intimately arranged seating, generous natural lighting, and beautiful landscaped views keep patients engaged, inspired, and comfortable. Wayfinding elements are embedded throughout the facility to reduce patient anxiety and promote independence.

Project category: New construction (completed February 2006)

Chief administrator: Rich Brown, Vice-President, Medical Specialties, (217) 383-3691

Firm: Marshall Erdman & Associates, (608) 238-0211

Design team: Roger Herritz, PE, Project Executive; Brad Kramer, AIA, Design Architect; Kirk Jiannacopoulos, MBA, Project Design Manager; Paul DuCharme, AIA, Project Operations Manager; Christina Robotka, Interior Designer; Samantha Roffe, Senior Site Planner

Photography: Jess Smith/Photosmith

Total building area (sq. ft.): 17,250

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $220

Total construction cost (excluding land): $3,795,000

By centralizing physicians, surgeons, and pain specialists, Carle Clinic has dramatically improved patient flow and access, cutting hours—even days—out of the referral process. Nurses' stations are grouped near the physicians' offices to create private space for consultation. This collaborative care model, combined with an electronic medical record system, is improving productivity, resulting in higher patient satisfaction.

The Carle Spine Institute is designed for a two-story vertical expansion to accommodate growth and maintain flexibility, ensuring that Carle Clinic will continue to be at the forefront of healthcare delivery.