Situated on 21 acres in rural Winchester, Indiana, is St. Vincent Randolph Hospital, the first new freestanding hospital in Randolph County in more than 80 years, and one of only a handful of new hospitals built in the state in the last 20 years. This project was envisioned by St. Vincent Hospital and Health Services as an answer to the growing healthcare needs within rural communities.

Project category: New construction (completed November 2001)

Chief administrator: Wayne Deschambeau, CEO, (765) 584-0004

Firm: BSA LifeStructures, Inc., (317) 819-7878

Design team: Richard A. Fetz, Principal-in-Charge; Scott A. Moore, Project Architect; Andrew J. Lane, Project Architect (BSA LifeStructures, Inc.); R. Scott McFadden, Interior Designer (Maregatti Interiors); Karen Loftus, Project Engineer (Moore Engineers, PC)

Photography: ©2002 Dan Francis, Mardan Photography; Karl Pfeffer

Total building area (GSF): 62,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $180

Total cost (excluding land): $11,148,000

Many small counties in Indiana lack the critical-access medical services that larger urban hospitals can provide. Also, many aging, rural hospitals simply cannot accommodate today's healthcare services and technologies. Rural patients are often forced to travel long distances to receive proper medical attention. The goals of the St. Vincent Randolph Hospital were to preserve healthcare in rural Randolph County and to develop a replacement facility that better met the needs of the community. Also, from a business standpoint, today's healthcare reimbursement systems rely on outpatient procedures, and the existing hospital for the area was built years ago when inpatient use was the standard business model.

The resulting 62,000-square-foot St. Vincent Randolph Hospital is now well positioned to meet the needs of the community it serves. It provides women's healthcare services, as well as housing departments for emergency medicine, radiology, surgery, noninvasive testing, and physical/occupational therapy, and it has supporting areas for pharmacy and dietary food services.

The new hospital is filled with warm colors, familiar shapes, and solid materials to create a healing environment and suggest the quality of care that will be provided. This one-story layout was chosen to resemble a small city and was planned using the concepts of path, node, edge, landmark, and district. The public paths, or corridors, are segmented, warm, and light-filled spaces. They offer plentiful views to the exterior and contain materials that help diminish the edge between exterior and interior. These paths terminate into nodes awash with soothing colors and materials that aid the healing process by reminding visitors of home.

The main entry reinforces the idea of home through the use of materials and forms that borrow from the community. Starting with the covered, vaulted canopy leading into the light-filled lobby, St. Vincent Randolph welcomes all patients and visitors while being convenient, upscale, and customer friendly. Almost all outpatient service entry points are also visible from the main lobby, thereby helping to orient patients. Natural light spills into the facility through clerestory lighting in the lobby and large openings along circulation paths, and it falls through windows where it rests on healing patients.