“It's awesome,” one young adolescent patient said upon arrival. “It's cheery, bright, and there's even a playground!”

Maine's newest freestanding psychiatric facility, Spring Harbor Hospital, is for people of all ages who experience serious episodes of mental illness or a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse. Located near Portland, the building allows for a full 100-bed replacement, doubling the number of private patient rooms, increasing room sizes, and providing additional recreation and consultation space. The building's practical advantages include 25% more therapeutic space than the previous facility, and it will function more effectively as a site for the hospital's specialized programs

Using a modern design, yet following the footprints of a New England farmhouse, the hospital features a light, natural theme, with cathedral ceilings and large windows. The interior décor is complementary to the surrounding Maine scenery, providing patients and staff alike with comfortable healing and working environments. The concept of “allowing the outdoors in” is accomplished through the use of ample windows and the inclusion of design elements drawn from the natural beauty of Maine's landscape. On each care unit, artwork reflecting the Maine coast, mountains, and woods helps to instill a sense of nature's ability to renew itself. “These are symbols of what we are here to do,” Dennis King, CEO of the hospital, notes. He adds, “we are a refuge, a place of healing that helps provide direction, a safe place in which our patients can renew their mental health.”

Project category: New construction (completed March 2004)

Chief administrator: Dennis King, Chief Executive Officer, (207) 761-2200

Firm: MorrisSwitzer~Environments for Health, (802) 878-8841

Design team: Jerry W. Switzer, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Charlie Rizza, Project Manager; Thomas Morris, Project Architect; Elizabeth Schidzig, Interior Designer

Photography: © Brian Vanden Brink Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 85,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $227

Total cost (excluding land): $19,300,000