Project category: New construction (completed May 2006)

Chief administrator: Becky Nelson, President, Sanford USD Medical Center, (605) 333-6437

Firm: Ellerbe Becket, Inc., (612) 376-2000

Design team: Jon Buggy, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Dan Loiselle, Senior Architectural Technical Specialist; Eric Strickland, CSI, CDT, Project Planner; Cynthia Saathoff, Senior Interior Designer; Jim Lohmann, Senior Electrical Engineering Project Leader; Greg Trende, PE, Mechanical Project Engineer

Photography: George Heinrich

Total building area (sq. ft.): 27,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not released

Total construction cost (excluding land): Not released

Sanford USD Medical Center's new Boekelheide Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides a setting in which the latest technology is available to care for tiny lives in a family friendly environment. The unit contains 45 rooms with a total capacity of 58 babies and occupies 27,000 square feet. There are 33 single-patient rooms, two two-patient rooms, nine co-bedding rooms (typically for one patient, but the headwall can accommodate two), and one three-patient room, equipped for triplets.

Families are encouraged to participate in the care of their new babies. With private rooms, families have a more ideal space in which to create and foster bonds with their infants. Each room has a family area with a sofa, wardrobe, refrigerator, and desk. In addition, Webcams are available for family members who cannot visit the baby at the bedside.

The Family Welcome Area offers a kitchenette and play area for children, as well as an area for families to get to know one another and serve as a strong support network for each other.

Equally important, Sanford USD Medical Center has initiated exciting and rather extensive research on the new NICU with its private patient rooms, focused on both short- and long-term outcomes of care provided there as compared with the traditional NICU environment. Researchers are also looking at how to reduce costs and shorten the length of stay, as well as measuring parents' and healthcare providers' satisfaction.