In keeping with its mission to create opportunities for low-income families in Washington, D.C., in 2012 Community of Hope (COH) embarked on its newest, largest project to date. Completed in February 2014, the Conway Health and Resource Center provides healthcare, housing, and social services to underserved populations and also serves as COH’s headquarters.

The facility was among those available to attendees to tour on Saturday as part of the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference in Washington, D.C. Teaming up with the Washington, D.C., office of Perkins+Will, the health center wanted to achieve a number of goals with the new project, including high visibility from the street, flexibility of space to engage the neighboring community, and appropriately designed spaces to serve a variety of patients. The four-story, 50,000-square-foot building consolidates health services including mammography, behavioral health, dental, primary care, housing placement, and community counseling.

As patients and visitors enter the building, a brightly colored desk that features a wood back welcomes and establishes a wayfinding element repeated on other floors to identify patient check-in areas. The elevator bank on the first floor, also framed with wood, is preceded by a colorful and locally sourced hanging sculpture that catches the light streaming into the glass lobby. Funding for the art displayed in the health center, was given by private individual donors. The local community provided feedback into the art selection.

By keeping the basic layout of each floor roughly the same and designing exam rooms, administrative offices, dental operatories, and consult rooms to the same size, the design team was able to provide the health center with the ability to flex for any future changes.

The center also provides a learning space with a kitchenette and movable desks on the first floor, which can be used as a multipurpose gathering area for community events or nutrition classes to engage the community. The second floor houses 11 dental chairs and six behavioral health rooms.

Primary care services are located on the third floor with three care team pods made up of six collocated exam rooms and three colors chosen to identify each care team. By locating optometry and the blood draw labs in the same space, the health center wanted to make sure patients weren’t being sent to different floors for one visit. Additionally, the health center designed staff lounges on every floor as well as a staff quiet room to provide calm and respite.

Although not yet solidified, plans are being discussed to conduct a full-fledged post-occupancy survey next year for the LEED-NC Silver facility.

Project team                                                                             

Owner: Community of Hope

Architect: Perkins+Will

Base building architect: ZGF Architects

MEP: Integral Group

Contractor: Forrester Construction