Project category: New construction (completed November 2001)

Chief administrator: Allen P. Fletcher, President & CEO, (256) 235-5253

Firm: Marshall Erdman & Associates, (608) 218-6411

Design team: Jim Lawrimore, Project Director; Steve Mason, Designer; Gary Amato, Project Architect; Katie Kunz, Interior Designer; Kate Stalker, Site Design

Photography: Mike Rebholz

Total building area (GSF): 110,900

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $120.41 (and $7,787 per parking space, garage)

Total cost (excluding land): $18,453,879

The Tyler Center, a medical office building and outpatient services center on the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center (RMC) campus, is an outgrowth of the RMC's strategic plan to enhance patient convenience and improve accessibility. One of the primary goals was to create a more out-patient-friendly environment in an efficient and attractive setting. The Tyler Center has accomplished just that by marrying hospitality with convenience. Outside, the deeply toned bricks and repeated vertical curves offer a refined appearance, while expelling the institutional feel typically associated with healthcare facilities. The entrance, a modern interpretation of classic Southern style, provides a distinctive edge to the campus.

The designers incorporated abundant windows to open the interior to natural light and warmth, especially in the lobbies and main treatment areas. The soaring, four-story atrium in the front lobby lends a touch of grandeur, while dark and light floor tiles create the illusion of permanent shadows, even on cloudy days. Many elements, such as soft lighting, floral upholstery, and rich wood accents, create warm and pleasing surroundings. Art was carefully selected and placed to maximize the focus on healing and comfort.

Interior details throughout the facility echo elements from its exterior. Columns at the elevator lobby entrance repeat the exterior columns, for instance, and a vaulted ceiling reflects the arched roof that caps the entrance. The vertical curves are repeated inside—especially evident by the sweeping glass walls that provide privacy while maintaining a sense of open space at the reception desks. Wood paneling defines and connects all levels of the building, much like the brick does outside.

To tie comfort with convenience, services are no longer scattered throughout the hospital; the Tyler Center consolidates most of the outpatient services in one location. The facility has allowed RMC to expand both its total service offering and its scope of existing services. The facility houses a full imaging center; physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology; neuro-cardio-pulmonary services; orthotics and prosthetics; cardio rehab; a sleep disorders lab; and a gymnasium and therapy pool. An on-site deli provides convenient, healthy fare, and the patio invites patients and staff to relax outside. The connected 550-car parking facility further enhances accessibility by providing convenient parking.

The Tyler Center has rewarded RMC with an increase in market share, but the true measure of success is found in the pride and enthusiasm demonstrated by its staff and patients.