The new five-story patient tower is the latest addition to the hospital campus. The facility's private rooms, natural light, and views to the outside incorporate the latest evidence-based design research to help reduce stress for patients, family members, and staff.

Phase I includes the build-out of the first three floors with two levels shelled for future build-out. The first floor of the patient tower houses a new day-surgery unit, including four new surgical suites with 48 recovery rooms for day-surgery and heart procedure patients.

A large lobby area with a registration desk and entrance for day-surgery patients offers easy wayfinding by eliminating the need to enter the main hospital area. A patient drop-off, valet parking, and a guest check-in desk also help provide a welcoming environment.

The design team worked with regulatory agencies and the owner's insurance company to create a curved glass exterior wall for the building. This unique design feature provides floor-to-ceiling windows in many of the patient rooms, allowing for views to the outside and natural lighting. Patient rooms also include family accommodations, such as Murphy beds, a desk, and Internet connections.

The design team incorporated decentralized nursing concepts by creating nursing alcoves that share two patient rooms. Patient floors include separate circulation areas for staff and materials. All public corridors feature extensive artwork to help create a noninstitutional feeling for patients, family members, and visitors.

Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed September 2004)

Chief administrator: Al Smith, Senior Vice-President, (979) 776-2495

Firm: WHR Architects, Inc., (713) 665-5665

Design team: Bill Ganshirt, AIA, ACHA, Project Manager; Amy Lopez, IIDA, Senior Interior Designer; Grant Gehring, AIA, ACHA, Senior Project Architect; Kelly Diklich, RA, Project Architect; Anthony Haas, AIA, ACHA, Senior Medical Planner

Photography: Scott Williams

Total building area (sq. ft.): 157,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $188

Total construction cost (excluding land): $29,500,000