Free-flowing, contemporary forms, reflective of the movement of vertebrae, were used to create this unique specialty hospital, designed especially for the diagnostics, treatment, and surgery of the spine. The client desired an upscale image, portraying state-of-the-art medical technology, including a fully digital, paperless patient management system. The building exterior utilizes a combination of white metal panels and blue glass, creating a striking image along a major street in a rapidly growing “medical corridor.”

Located on a large suburban lot, the site was organized into three distinct zones: inpatient, outpatient, and staff/service. Inside the 55,500-square-foot facility, the plan was also carefully arranged into functional areas, including public spaces, administrative area, surgical suites, patient care wing, diagnostics suite, and building services. Special attention was given to efficient circulation.

Patients and visitors are welcomed into a large lobby featuring walls of expansive glass that flood the area with natural light. The lobby is flanked on one side by the business and administrative offices and on the other by a bright, colorful café with outdoor seating.

A patterned-glass curtain wall creates a subtle yet distinct separation between the public areas and the activities of hospital staff. Just behind this glass wall, accessible through sliding glass doors, is a large clerestory space accommodating the central scheduling station. The preoperative, postoperative, and surgery suites and other support areas are also located behind this wall.

From the lobby, patrons can walk along this glass wall and into the patient wing without interfering with staff activities. The patient area contains 18 rooms. “Light boxes” on the outside walls of these rooms bring in natural light and allow a convenient place for floral arrangements.

For convenience of outpatients, a separate diagnostics area, complete with its own entrance, lobby, and parking area, was designed. This arrangement not only makes CT scan, MRI, and radiology more convenient to patients, but also separates this traffic from the main surgical corridor; however, all functions are conveniently connected to the central scheduling station.

Building service areas are located on an outside wall for convenient movement of goods and services through a separate entrance/exit.

The interiors of the facility employ liberal use of color, patterned floors, and attractive lighting, helping to create a friendly environment. The use of curvilinear shapes on walls and millwork help to soften the interior and direct patron circulation.

Project category: New construction (completed December 2003)

Chief administrator: Eustaquio Abay, MD, Chief Executive Officer, (316) 462-5000

Firm: McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry, (316) 262-0451

Design team: Stacy R. Terwilliger, AIA, Project Manager; Tod A. Ford, AIA, Project Architect, Designer; Christi J. Birkholtz, IIDA, Interior Designer (McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry); Don I. Norton, PE, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (Professional Engineering Consultants, PA); Ronald L. Brown, PE, Structural Engineering (Dudley Williams & Associates, PA)

Photography: Tom Pott

Total building area (sq. ft.): 55,403

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $188

Total cost (excluding land): $10,414,353