Project category: Addition (completed September 2006)

Chief administrator: Paul Pawlak, President/CEO, (815) 740-1100

Firm: FreemanWhite, Inc., (858) 552-8188

Design team: Troy Seanor, AIA, Project Manager and Principal Designer; James K. Jepson, AIA, Project Planner; Christopher Heath, Job Captain; Gregory Johnson, PE, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection Engineer; Bang Cong Tran, PE, Electrical Engineer

Photography: © Skot Weidemann Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 36,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $500

Total construction cost (excluding land): $18,000,000

Originally built for 25,000 annual visits almost 20 years ago, the new Emergency Department (ED) at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, Illinois, anticipates 46,000 visits this year and has the flexibility to accommodate 65,000 visits per year by 2009. In the process of designing for increasing patient volumes, Silver Cross leadership also took the opportunity to create a more efficient ED by stream-lining workplace processes.

Analyzing patient flow patterns, adding technologic improvements, and considering complementary department adjacencies resulted in a new and truly improved ED. A patient monitoring and tracking system, an automated medication dispensing system, and a designated lab within the department were key elements employed to dramatically increase treatment time over waiting time. The fact that an emergency medicine physician usually sees a patient within 30 minutes of arrival also contributed to higher patient satisfaction scores for this new ED.

Today, this $18-million, 36,000-sq.-ft. Level II Trauma Center is comprised of 26 private treatment rooms with six dedicated observation beds adding increased treatment flexibility. Most new EDs immediately experience a 10 to 15% increase in patient volume. The Silver Cross ED has already surpassed these numbers and is headed for substantial increases over time. It is building a reputation within their community as an ED that provides quality care ever more efficiently.