Project category: Conversion (completed December 2003)

Chief administrator: John C. Johnson, President and CEO, (954) 492-5796

Firms: Miller Healthcare Services, (954) 763-8511; MGE Architects, (305) 444-0413; Miller Construction Company, (954) 764-6550

Design team: James F. Smith, PE (Miller Healthcare Services); Jose L. Estevez, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Katherine Corey, Interior Designer (MGE Architects); Tony Diaz, Mechanical Designer (Smith Seckman and Reid); Wayne Hannaka, Project Executive (Miller Construction Company)

Photography: Miller Healthcare Services; Kiko Ricote

Total building area (sq. ft.): 15,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $184

Total cost (excluding land): $2,760,000

This 15,000-square-foot Heart and Vascular Center expansion integrates the newest cardiac catheterization digital technology and creates a warm “hospitality” environment for patients and families. The $9.7 million project (total cost, including equipment and all fees) involved conversion of unfinished medical office space to full-service diagnostic and treatment facilities and was completed seven months ahead of the original schedule to accommodate higher patient demand during the winter season.

Six cardiac catheterization labs and an expanded admission/recovery area were added to serve both inpatients and outpatients. Phase I finished two additional labs, 17 admission/recovery beds, customer-friendly reception and family waiting space, a registration/consultation area, and space for future cardio/neuro- and heart- and vascular- related clinical services.

The primary goal was to create public spaces with appealing “bed and breakfast” ambience to relieve patients’ anxiety in cardiology waiting and to provide patients and family members comfort while presenting a look and feel consistent with the main lobby and the rest of the medical office building.

Waiting/reception has four distinct venues offering different comfort zones for visitors: a café with heart-healthy cookies and coffee; a library with softer seating, books, and computers with Internet access; a large-screen TV area; and a main waiting room. All areas are beautifully furnished with the look of a fine hotel.

The lab introduces Siemens’ state-of-the-art, flat-panel image-intensifier digital technology to the region. This technology significantly improves diagnostic images used by the physicians.

Outpatient and inpatient circulation do not conflict. All public and patient areas provide a pleasant, noninstitutional environment. Patients in precare and postcare can enjoy expansive, yet private, views of outdoor surroundings, including the Atlantic Ocean.

Many Holy Cross staffers and those from other facilities commented on the attractive design and asked to be considered for transfer or employment. Patient and physician satisfaction measures continue as outstanding. One patient said, “I feel like queen for a day.”

The conversion allowed rapid response to a market need. Solving tough challenges of limited floor-to-floor height led to logical layout of systems above the ceiling that will aid future changes.

The physical and emotional needs of the patient guided the design process. The facility incorporates many patient-oriented features, such as a low reception desk so that no barrier comes between the patient and receptionist.

The new cath labs are effectively linked, both with on-site inpatient units and physicians’ offices, as well as with off-site facilities. The design incorporates a “one-stop” approach for outpatients.