Hospital exterior

St. Joseph's Community Hospital of West Bend, Wisconsin, will open in May 2005, specifically designed to deliver safe, error-free medical treatment. The physical environment will play a key role in its success. The design team applied safety-focused design principles not seen in traditional hospital design, such as standardization, automation, and adaptation strategies.

The 82-bed replacement facility offers front-door personal assistance and simplified 24-hour access through a single portal of entry for all patient services. Special attention to separation of public, patient, and service pathways and inclusion of healing elements are evident throughout the facility. Craftsman-era, rich wood tones and stained glass are infused into the warm, comfortable atmosphere, which is reminiscent of a winter ski lodge.

The all-private-room accommodations are functional, efficient, and identically configured to enhance safety through built-in familiarity. Each room offers excellent patient visibility for staff from an attached care-provider alcove that contains patient-specific documentation and medication- and supply-dispensing functions. Outpatient services such as surgery, radiology, and emergency can share colocated exam and treatment rooms to adapt to changing daily census demands. Facility growth and changes have been carefully considered to meet the technologic and automation demands of the future without disrupting necessary department adjacencies and vital traffic flow patterns developed to compel the safe delivery of care.

The new St. Joseph's Community Hospital of West Bend is a testament to the impact of progressive, process-led design, as well as visionary leadership and staff empowerment in taking on what is perhaps healthcare's most significant challenge—medical error.

Project category: Project in progress (May 2005)

Chief administrator: John Reiling, President and CEO, (262) 334-8391

Firm: Gresham, Smith, and Partners, (615) 770-8100

Design team: Thomas Wallen, Principal-in-Charge; David Stewart, Project Manager; Brent Hughes, Project Coordinator; Penn O'Briant, Project Detailer; Teresa Belsky, Clinical Operations Planner

Total building area (sq. ft.): 185,790

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $344

Total cost (excluding land): $64,000,000