Seeking to move the “front door” of its hospitals closer to where its patients live and work, Baptist Health of Northeast Florida engaged Gresham, Smith and Partners (Jacksonville, Fla.) to design multiple freestanding emergency departments (ED), as the new building type began emerging in the Florida healthcare market.

Baptist Emergency at Town Center, a 17,000 square-foot facility in an upscale urban retail center near the growing University of North Florida campus in Jacksonville, Fla., is the second facility in that series.

Opened in April 2016, the 24-hour freestanding ED has separate waiting and treatment zones for adult and pediatric patients. Sixteen beds are divided equally between each unit in separate pods connected by a single, centralized nurses’ station.

Exam rooms are laid out to streamline patient flow and allow fast tracking when necessary. Convenient onsite services include ultrasounds, CT scans, X-rays, full-service lab work, and telemedicine consultation.

Acknowledging its proximity to high-end shopping and a major university, the building is designed to provide a retail experience that appeals to busy families and students alike. Transparent glazing permits unobstructed views of both waiting areas from the outside, projecting a sense of openness and convenience to passersby.

Inside, the adult and pediatric units each have a distinct look and feel that caters to their patient demographics. The children’s center features colorful ocean-themed interiors to create a welcoming atmosphere and reduce patient stress, while the design of the adult unit highlights the high-quality materials and sophisticated details present throughout the building.

Pediatric emergency care is provided by Wolfson Children’s Hospital (Jacksonville, Fla.) and is a key service that distinguishes the facility from its competitors. To make this distinction, branding and architectural elements feature prominently in the building’s design, including Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital logos on the exterior and an eye-catching wall in Baptist's blue brand color with emergency signage. The blue wall’s orientation and the placement of the ambulance drop-off allow both to function as billboards advertising the facility’s emergency services to drivers on the nearby interstate.

The tested floorplan and streamlined design and construction process will allow Baptist Health of Northeast Florida to continue growing its freestanding ED locations when and where appropriate.