Due to 1960s-era construction, the United Hospital Center (UHC) exhibited a multitude of structural, technological and operational challenges. Based on today’s spatial requirements, the facility was unable to expand and, as a result, found it difficult to keep up with the city’s growing population. Dated floor plans and inadequate parking posed wayfinding and cross-traffic challenges for patients and personnel, while poor facility infrastructure prohibited technological advancement, stunting medical innovation.
Focusing on flexibility, staff efficiencies and an environment conducive to the best in patient and family care, Gresham Smith designed a 680,000-square-foot, 292-bed replacement hospital, complete with public, service and staff spines. Major departments such as surgery, emergency and radiology were placed at the facility’s perimeter according to departmental adjacencies, linking all services and simplifying patient, staff and service personnel cross-traffic. Separate and distinct entrances for the emergency room and cancer center were created while a three-story atrium, open to the floor below, connects all non-institutional services accessible via the public walk way.
As an expanded facility, the UHC replacement hospital easily caters to the city’s growing population and provides the ability to expand without long-term disruption to patient rooms. Now able to accommodate state-of-the-art medical equipment, UHC has the luxury of exploring, researching and implementing the best in 21st century medical care. Structural, technological and operational upgrades are resulting in strengthened departmental relationships, staff efficiencies and the ability to react to patient needs more quickly.
The site lends itself to close, convenient surface parking without the need to build a parking garage—an opportunity to keep costs down and facilitate future growth. Wayfinding improvements, enhanced site circulation and parking schemes, and first-class room design — including angled beds with countryside views — have enabled the hospital to offer the latest in patient amenities and to provide superior guest service.