August 1, 2019

In June 2016, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH) broke ground on the M.T. Mustian Center—a 72-bed surgical and adult ICU center named in honor of the late Middleton Truett “M.T.” Mustian, the hospital’s former president and longtime administrator. I served as senior architect on the project and was fortunate to attend the event that day, along with more than 500 attendees and Mr. Mustian himself, representing the first steps in the realization of a dream for an addition that would carry on his legacy.

Gresham Smith’s journey with TMH began in 2011 when we were tasked with developing concepts to improve their image, wayfinding and the overall patient experience. Three years later, following our master planning effort for a surgical and ICU addition that would directly connect to the existing hospital on TMH’s main campus, we were selected to lead the design of the M.T. Mustian Center. Opened to the public in May of this year, the six-story, 346,270-square-foot addition not only expands the organization’s footprint but also its capacity.

Our healthcare design team is proud to have worked closely with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s talented physicians, nurses and clinical staff—from inception to project completion—to modernize their existing operating rooms and adult intensive care units to provide state-of-the-art care that will support the region’s surgical and critical care needs for the next 50 years. In this post, I take a look at how the incorporation of value added design elements helped us to achieve that.



Enhancing the Human Experience through Intuitive Wayfinding

Enhancing the human experience and improved wayfinding were both major drivers in the master planning effort. The design simplifies both external and internal patient wayfinding, allowing the building itself to become a part of the wayfinding solution. Outdoor spaces viewed from the inside help aid in patient and visitor orientation, reducing stress levels for patients and family members alike.



Creating a Welcoming Environment

Light, bright and airy, the facility’s main lobby is defined by a two-story curtainwall that provides abundant daylight. A reception point is located at the front door where visitors can obtain assistance from a volunteer to find their destination. The lobby includes surgery waiting spaces that overlook a landscaped lobby garden, providing a positive distraction.



Making the Wait a Little Easier

Pediatric-friendly waiting zones give children a place of their own. All waiting areas are equipped with charging stations for visitors’ handheld devices and tablets. If family members feel like a cup of coffee or a snack, they can head to the Eyes of Texas Cafe in the main lobby area. The cafe was named as a nod to the former administrator’s Texas roots.



A Sense of Place

The ICU patient room includes a family zone with a couch that converts into a bed. Television and window-shade controls, a reading light and outlets for charging personal devices are also provided. The overall design aesthetic, including finishes and furnishing, were carefully considered to create a sense of place that reflects quality, comfort and leading-edge healthcare.



“Internal” Medicine

The facility’s third through fifth floors house three ICUs that accommodate the 72 patient rooms. The design features an internal corridor in each ICU intended to keep “offstage” staff and support activity away from the patient rooms, creating a calmer environment for patients and their loved ones.



Safety First

The addition was located so a direct connection between the emergency department and surgery was created. Well-marked caregiver safety zones were incorporated into the ICU patient rooms. Distributed, identical support spaces around the ICU team centers reduce footsteps while eliminating potential distractions and medical errors. All ICU rooms are equipped with patient lifts, making bed transfers safer for patients and staff. Ultraviolet light was provided in all air-handling units, removing many forms of fungi, bacteria and germs before they’re introduced into the air supply.



Enhanced Operational Efficiencies

The sheer size of the program demanded efficient planning. Our design increases operational efficiencies by reducing travel distances and maximizing connectivity between floors through strategic elevator placement. The two-story surgery platform is located directly over the center’s sterile processing (SP) department, allowing staff to have direct access to materials in SP with the push of a button via two vertical conveyors.



Keeping Things on the Up & Up!

Incorporating adaptability and resiliency into the design were of paramount importance in order to serve the needs of TMH for the next 50 years. To help achieve this, we designed the six-story ICU tower to expand vertically by two additional floors. Support spaces were sized for future OR expansion, while ICU rooms were standardized to maximize reassignment. Along with expanding upward, we designed the facility to make room for new and emerging technologies in the future.



A Hospital for Life

The result of a 26-month design effort, the M.T. Mustian Center was created to have a transformative effect on Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s campus and critical care services for decades to come. Designed with patients, safety and communication at the forefront of our minds, the facility will not only help attract and retain top-tier surgical staff and caregivers, but will also provide the community with a hospital for life through anticipating the region’s long-term healthcare needs over the next half-century.