The new Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas is designed to achieve the aggressive Platinum-level LEED certification, unprecedented in the healthcare market. It is the first major development on a 700-acre brownfield site that was formerly the municipal airport. This progressive approach is balanced with forward-thinking for an efficient and functional healthcare environment that promotes the ideals of creating an earth-friendly place where kids can heal.

At the Welcome Center, a long, native red-sandstone wall serves as a spine where the public can navigate to and from destinations. A mesquite-wood wall defines the major public cross-corridor and landmarks the public elevators, linking the public to other key destinations and interior courtyards.

Zones of the hospital are defined by metaphors of Central Texas eco-regions, while the main entrance is highlighted by a tower, a live-music amphitheater, and artwork created in community-based art programs. Special art pieces are integrated into the building architecture to serve as landmarks in public spaces.

Native plant and building materials from the 46 surrounding counties, wireless technology, an abundance of natural light, and healing and therapeutic gardens are just a few features that enhance the healing environment, not only for the patients and their families, but also for staff—an important factor in staff recruitment and retention.

Project category: Project in Progress (May 2007)

Chief administrator: Robert I. Bonar, Jr., Dr. HA, President and CEO, (512) 324-8091

Firm: Karlsberger, (614) 461-9500

Design team: Thomas L. Snearey, AIA, Principal-in-Charge/Project Manager; Joseph F. Kuspan, AIA, Lead Senior Architectural Designer; Kenneth C. Redman, AIA, Senior Architectural Designer; Stephen T. Zilles, AIA, LEED AP, Project Architect; Amy S. Mays, LEED AP, Senior Interior Designer; Daniel J. Clements III, SEGD, Director of Graphic Design

Illustration: Karlsberger

Total building area (sq. ft.): 455,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $242

Total construction cost (excluding land): $110,000,000

One unique feature is that this facility has its own power-generating plant projected to produce energy 60 to 70% more efficiently than the community power grid.