BarberMcMurry Architects and HDR Architects design new hospital in Tennessee
In 2005, St. Mary’s Health System, now Mercy Health Partners, commissioned BarberMcMurry Architects (in collaboration with HDR architects) to plan and design a new, $72 million (USD) hospital to serve the rapidly growing population of North Knox County located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The comprehensive development is sited on 50 acres and is comprised of two medical office buildings, a health and fitness center, and a cancer, imaging and women’s center. The hospital opened in August 2007. Mercy Medical Center North is East Tennessee’s newest state-of-the-art full service hospital.
The six-floor, 206,000 sq ft, full-service facility includes five operating rooms and 10 emergency treatment rooms. It houses 108 private patient rooms, 12 of which are ICU. The original plan called for 72 patient beds with expansion capability of an additional 36 beds. This expansion was completed in 2008.
Patient room design is focused primarily on patient safety and comfort. Handrails are integrated into bedside tables, leading continuously to the toilet. Reflective light fixtures improve patient comfort, while high-quality soundproofing is used for interior walls and structural systems are designed to reduce vibration noise. Ease of use for staff is also a priority at this facility. The patient floors are organised around identically sized rooms that are same-handed. The location of bed, bathrooms, furniture, and medical equipment are in the same locations in every room. This planning decreases the initial period of nurse acclimation and increases patient safety when time is of the essence. Nursing stations are decentralised in this design allowing patient documentation and observation to occur at view windows at each room.
Sustainable design principles reduce the building’s energy consumption. Examples include the use of low energy-loss glass, energy-efficient lighting, and plant materials added to selected roof areas to reduce heat gain and provide improved views for patients.