Project category: New construction (completed October 2004)

Chief administrator: Paul Macek, President and CEO, (314) 653-5000

Firm: Christner, Inc., (314) 725-2927

Design team: John Reeve, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Robert Ducker, AIA, LEED, Designer; Theodore Jacobs, AIA, LEED, Project Manager; Grace Corbin, AIA, IIDA, LEED, Interior Designer; Bill Stancil, Project Architect, Construction Administrator

Photography: Sam Fentress

Total building area (sq. ft.): 42,500

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $202

Total construction cost (excluding land): $8,600,000

To restore market share for this suburban hospital, a planning process tackled the goals of reinventing the hospital to respond effectively to consumer market demands, while boosting financial performance through creating a more efficient and attractive facility.

The architects worked with client representatives to recast the hospital as a “destination campus” offering key healthcare and retail services to St. Louis's northern suburbs. The new replacement facility sits on an 8.3-acre parcel of the total 18-acre site and was constructed while the existing acute care hospital remained in operation. Following the new facility's opening, the old hospital was demolished. The site was rezoned to allow redevelopment that could include up to 90,900 square feet of retail space, supported by 876 parking spaces.

The hospital's president handpicked a blue-ribbon panel of community representatives that included a prominent politician, local business and educational leaders, and others to participate in a citizens' advisory group that contributed opinions and commentary. The involvement of this panel generated comprehensive input and discussion, encouraged endorsement of recommendations, and fostered community interest in the success of the outcome. A series of “town hall” citizen meetings invited the community to hear progress reports and air concerns. A one-time, four-hour charrette—an intense session that creates a design concept—folded in the results of market research from phone surveys. The appearance of the new hospital reflects community and client discussions about public image.

This new hospital represents a radical breakthrough in thinking. A “hospital without beds,” it provides what the community has asked for, with a 24-hour emergency department for 30,000 annual visits, outpatient diagnostic and imaging services (including CT, MRI, mammography, ultrasound, and bone density), a breathing center, a sleep lab, and a full walk-in clinical lab supporting emergency and imaging. The building also accommodates a private suite of offices for four primary care physicians.

The new 42,500-square-foot replacement facility, now named Northwest HealthCare, is designed to expand to 80,000 square feet as services warrant. Since opening in 2004, the hospital has already generated a high number of patient visits and has become a community landmark.