Project category: Project in progress (December 2004)

Chief administrator: Dyer Michell, President and CEO, (352) 351-7200

Firms: Harvard Jolly, Inc., (813) 286-8206; Euthenics, (727) 823-6633

Design team: Alejandro Gonzalez, RA, Project Manager (Harvard Jolly, Inc.); Barbara Riley Collins, IIDA, Director of Design; Gene Collins, Principal-in-Charge (Euthenics)

Photography: © Greg Hursley

Total building area (sq. ft.): 250,130 (new); 108,276 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $175 (new); $110 (renovation)

Total cost (excluding land): $43,772,750 (new); $11,910,360 (renovation)

Munroe Regional Medical Center is a 421-bed acute care hospital located in downtown Ocala. This facility is one of the top hospitals in Florida, with emergency treatments in numbers that make its emergency room one of the top-ten busiest ERs in the state.

In response to a rapidly growing community, Munroe realized the need to expand its facilities and commissioned the $75 million expansion, complete with a new patient tower that will nearly double the size of the hospital.

In light of Munroe's commitment to the people of Marion County, the new construction takes its contextual cues from the needs of the community, rather than the surrounding physical structures. Therefore, the design of the structure was implemented with an emphasis on ease of access to hospital services. The main entrance to the hospital was relocated in the early phases of construction, with particular attention given to added landscape beauty; to arriving patients and visitors, it resembles a resort rather than a medical facility. A second-floor entrance, complete with its own parking area immediately adjacent, leads directly to all outpatient services. This entrance, which will be designated for patient use only, was created to provide an obvious traffic artery to this area of the facility.

Munroe will now house four state-of-the-art open-heart surgical suites, including observation rooms and an operating theater with technologic capabilities that will allow for networking with other hospitals. This surgical suite will be the only one of its kind on the East Coast.

The interior design being incorporated into the expansion nods to the warm, comfortable components of a hospitality setting and provides an aesthetically pleasing merger of corporate and artistic design. Striking design features—from casework details with accents of cherry wood and black swirls, to a reception area reflecting the concierge desk of a fine hotel—will offer the hospital's patrons a reprieve from sterile clinical environments. A neutral color palette highlighting each department with vibrant accent colors will provide identifiable signatures for the separate areas of the hospital and provide wayfinding without excessive signage.

Because of the exceptional collaboration of the design team and the board of directors at Munroe Regional Medical Center, all original goals for this project have been accomplished. The building will complement the exceptional care and vision for healthcare that Munroe Regional Medical Center considers its mission.