Project category: New construction (completed January 2006)

Chief administrator: Norman Stephens, CEO, (907) 861-6000

Firm: Ascension Group Architects, (817) 226-1917

Design team: Rod Booze, AIA, NCARB, ACHA, Principal/Architect (Ascension Group Architects); Jay Hyde, General Contractor (Bovis Lend Lease); Tom Clevenger, MEP Engineer (TLC Engineering); Jim Stephenson, Structural Engineer (Structural Design Group); Kurt Hulteen, Civil Engineer (Dowl Engineers)

Photography: Chris Arend; Greg Martin

Total building area (sq. ft.): 214,700

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $334

Total construction cost (excluding land): $71,800,000

Located 50 miles north of Anchorage, the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center serves the fastest growing region in the state of Alaska. Open February 2006, this replacement facility includes a 22-station Emergency Department; a Surgery Department of six ORs, two endoscopy rooms, and 1 C-section room; a 14-bed ICU Department; a full Radiology Department; and a catheterization lab. Fifty patient beds occupy the second floor, with an additional 50-bed capacity located in a shelled third floor. The Obstetrics Department includes an additional 10 patient rooms with a separate, covered entrance.

There were may design considerations relevant to the region. These included seismic requirements, excessive wind loads, and specialized vapor barrier and insulation systems. Heated paving was incorporated into exterior walkways and delivery paths around the building to maintain access around the building during the winter months. An enclosed pathway also connects the adjacent 60,000-sq.-ft. professional building.

To create a comfortable environment for patients and visitors, the interior public spaces include hospitality-type finishes. The lobby ceiling was vaulted to accentuate a stone-clad fireplace. The main circulation corridor at the front of the building is enclosed with curtainwall windows to maximize available daylight during the shortened winter days; a heated slab keeps the area warm. Exterior stone helped create a building that looks in place with its surroundings. Large areas of glass maintain a modern composition and provide scenic views of the mountainous landscape surrounding the valley.