Gresham Smith Designs for Community Connection and Climate Resiliency with Baptist Health Care

New 268-Bed Baptist Hospital, Bear Health Center, Behavioral Health Unit Open Doors in Pensacola

Gresham Smith is proud to announce that Baptist Hospital, Bear Family Foundation Health Center and Baptist Behavioral Health Unit and central energy plant on Baptist Health Care’s new Brent Lane campus are complete. Replacing the health system’s 73-year-old hospital, the new 57-acre campus provides greater convenience, efficiency and the latest healthcare technology to serve the Pensacola, Florida regional community.

The 10-story, 268-bed hospital houses general medical and surgical rooms, critical care areas, a mother-baby unit, a surgery department, specialty cardiac care treatment and procedure rooms, and a Level II trauma center. The six-story, 178-000-square-foot Bear Family Foundation Health Center contains multi-specialty services, including oncology, women’s health, outpatient imaging, bariatrics, cardiology and lab, as well as a conference center for public events, health education and community outreach. The 72-bed behavioral health unit, located on the west side of the campus, brings much needed behavioral health services to the community.

“Gresham Smith brought to life our vision for a dynamic campus that provides the latest features and design for today and the ability to adapt for the future. This project to replace our 73-year-old legacy campus with a more modern, technologically advanced and accessible location was a generational opportunity for us. Gresham Smith helped us get this right with the creation of healthy, sustainable buildings and a campus that incorporates the natural beauty of northwest Florida. This campus will raise the bar for health care experiences, safety, quality and efficiency for generations to come. Our new Baptist Hospital campus is amazing, and it’s the campus that our community and team members deserve.” said Baptist Health Care President and CEO Mark Faulkner.

“This project represents the single-largest investment in the healthcare history of Northwest Florida, and Gresham Smith is proud to be the designer of such a significant project,” said Gresham Smith Project Executive Robert “Skip” Yauger, AIA, LEED AP. “Throughout the design process, we prioritized Baptist’s goal to honor the history and culture of Pensacola and respect the natural environment, while also celebrating the high quality of care being provided by Baptist Hospital. Our solution, shaped by and for the community, provides a world-class experience for clinicians, staff and patients and will serve northwest Florida and south Alabama for many decades to come.”

The campus is organized around a park-like town square that includes groves of heritage oak trees that create a variety of amenities including walking paths, respite areas and outdoor event spaces. The exterior of each building pays homage to the historical character of Pensacola’s local buildings and celebrates the natural surroundings of the beach community. Warm terracotta and shades of sandy white contrast to denote building entrances, and large spans of glass flood the interior with natural light. Durable materials, including precast concrete panels and impact glazing that surpass code minimum, and a hardened building structure and envelope will withstand hurricane force winds and rain. Additionally, electrical feed and potable water redundancies will enable the hospital to operate off-grid in the event of an emergency.

The interior of each building takes cues from the exterior design, using handcrafted materials, such as wood, bronze and terrazzo, to create a warm, welcoming environment for patients, their loved ones and staff members. Drawing inspiration from the oaks in the town square, large scale light fixtures reference sunlight streaming through Spanish moss, while planters and full-height windows also bring the outdoors inside.

To aid with wayfinding, every patient destination on the first floor is accessible from the primary public concourse, while staff and materials circulation is separated in a secondary circulation system. To further enhance wayfinding, the idea of the horizon was used as the major organizing element for the finish palette. Reminiscent of light reflecting over the ocean at sunrise or sunset, the color palette shifts colors at each level of the building. Transparent and translucent glass reduce patient anxiety at clinical entries, which are denoted by accent lighting, wood ceiling treatments and large-scale graphics, and lightwells bring daylight deep into the building’s core.

Gresham Smith provided architecture, interior design, civil, structural and MEP engineering, landscape architecture, furniture and artwork coordination, graphics and wayfinding, traffic studies, flood mapping and climate science consulting services for the project. Gresham Smith also designed the developer-owned medical office building, which is currently under construction and slated to complete in 2024.