World-Class Design for a Military Healthcare Facility
With the breathtaking backdrop of Storm King Mountain, the new addition to the Keller Army Community Hospital on the campus of West Point Military Academy will provide premium, world-class outpatient healthcare services for military staff and their family members, and an improved working environment for the staff. The addition, designed by EwingCole Architects, will offer essential medical programs and services under one roof to make life a little easier for military members.
The Army’s focus on developing well-defined spaces that are flexible, bring calm, and serve the needs of the patient is being realized across the country. As the private sector applies an evidence-based design approach to healthcare facilities, the Army has taken steps to be aware of and employ the very best of those same standards for the government health facilities. This expansion project will incorporate those standards in a clean, modern design that makes use of the natural surroundings to enhance the building's function and façade.
The exam rooms and physicians offices at Keller Army Community Hospital Clinic harness flexibility and efficiency in design by having the same square footage for every room (120 square feet) with a ceiling-mounted curtain track and sink in each. This permits, due to the leadership structure of the Army, each Commander who may head the facility to make changes as needed and adjust the use of the rooms without having to overhaul and reconstruct the rooms.
Although outpatient services will take place within the same area of the hospital campus, EwingCole designed for a separate, distinct entrance which will lead into an inviting lobby. John Capelli, AIA, prinicipal, government practice points out, “In the lobby reception area and on all floors there is access to daylight and views to the south, to the military housing. It affords that whenever you come off the elevators or from the stairs, you always know where you are because of the orientation of the views.” The positioning of the addition will also capitalize on the solar heat gains which in turn will help reduce mechanical heating demands.
By locating some of the services on the same floor in the existing hospital, patients need only make a short walk from seeing their primary care doctor to filling their prescriptions, or receiving their blood work. “The clinic also has a substantial orthopedic and physical therapy program. So we positioned that component on the top floor of the building and put it against the windows of the long face of the building to have the views of Storm King Mountain,” says Capelli. The clinic will also provide ophthalmology and optometry services as well as office space for TRICARE which offers civilian health benefits to military staff and their families including military retirees.
Using a spreadsheet checklist to measure the quality of the design against evidence-based design benchmarks, both EwingCole and the Army were committed to ensuring excellence in design. An example of this that Capelli points out is the attention paid to STC and NRC ratings of the wall construction and ceiling tile within the examination rooms to exceed standard ratings and ensure patient privacy.
As health systems in the private sector rapidly move forward with their technology expectations, the Military has been a front runner in utilizing the latest technologies. “The Army has been at the forefront of electronic medical records, so though we do have receptionists, we also have a kiosk for check-in and registration, and information as well, as do certain providers in the private sector,” says Capelli.
The Keller Army Community Clinic is shaping up to be a facility that will not only be offering expanded healthcare practices to people in the service and their families but will possibly also provide points of reference for the private sector too.