St. Anthony Hospital,  Lakewood, Colorado

Project Overview

  • Project Name: St. Anthony Hospital
  • Location: Lakewood, Colo.
  • Floor area: 670,000 square feet
  • Number of floors: 8
  • Number of beds: 222
  • Project cost: $640 million
  • Construction cost: $233 million
  • Groundbreaking date: September 2008
  • Opening date: May 2011

Project Team

  • Owner: St. Anthony Hospital/Centura Health
  • Architect and Interior Designer: Earl Swensson Associates Inc.
  • General Contractor: GE Johnson Construction Co.
  • Furniture Specification: Gallun Snow
  • MEP Engineering: Cator Ruma & Associates Co.
  • Structural Engineering: Structural Design Group
  • Civil Engineering: S.A. Miro Inc.
  • Medical Equipment Planning: Mitchell Associates
  • Food Service Design: Inman Foodservices Group
  • Landscaping: studioINSITE

Information provided by Earl Swensson Associates Inc.

With the construction of a replacement facility in Lakewood, Colo., St. Anthony Hospital has an opportunity to build on a strong foundation of clinical excellence, says Jeff Brickman, the hospital's president and CEO. "We finally have a facility that matches the reputation of our clinical teams," he says. "To have a state-of-the-art facility in today's age is really quite remarkable."

Timeless design

The replacement facility is designed to provide a safe, comfortable environment for pa­tients and staff and to operate efficiently with long-term appeal.

The prior St. Anthony facility opened in 1892. The designers of the replacement facility were mindful this building could be a 100-year-plus investment by the hospital. "We wanted it to be new and fresh and vibrant, but we wanted it to be timeless," says Sam W. Burnette, AIA, EDAC, senior designer/principal for architect and interior design firm Earl Swensson Associates Inc. (ESa), Nashville, Tenn.

The hospital's exterior features a stone material complementary to the indigenous stone of the Colorado Front Range, where the hospital is located. The stone material, which is meant to be a permanent part of the building's image, is installed primarily at the pedestrian level and main entrances. It is combined on the exterior with a stucco product, for economy. Generous amounts of glass bring light and views to the public areas of the hospital. Bands of curtainwall emphasize the vertical proportions of the building, especially where patient rooms are located. The use of glass is limited on the southern and western exposures, to reduce energy costs.

The architects took advantage of a nearly 30-foot slope on the hospital site to create three levels with direct outdoor access. Loading dock entrances are located at the lowest (or "garden") level, which houses primary support services. St. Anthony Hospital's main lobby and emergency department entrances are on the first floor. At the highest corner of the site is the entrance to OrthoColorado Hospital, an orthopedic specialty hospital ESa de­signed as Phase 1 of the replacement hospital project.

Distinctive interiors

Clean lines and forms lend a more contemporary, urban feel to the interior of St. Anthony Hospital, with natural stone products and wood tones referencing the nearby Rocky Mountains, says Christie M. McCullough, IIDA, ASID, EDAC, interior designer, ESa.

All of these elements can be seen in the design of sleek gas fireplaces located in the hospital lobby. "These fireplaces are just people magnets," says Burnette, who has noticed that seats near the fireplaces fill faster than other lobby seating areas.

Statues of Jesus and St. Anthony that were relocated from the previous hospital are placed in prominent areas of the public spaces, to honor the legacy of the religious institution. Stained glass from the former hospital chapel is featured in the new chapel. Bringing elements of the old campus to the new campus "was very important to all the key stakeholders," says Ryan Tobin, administrator of operations, St. Anthony Hospital.

For the hospital's interior materials and finishes, the designers considered a hierarchy of building elements, says Ken L. Bowman, IIDA, ASID, LEED AP ID+C, EDAC, interior designer/interior design manager, ESa. Major elements, like the fireplaces, feature natural-looking products with a longer expected life cycle. A bolder, brighter approach was taken with design elements that will be replaced more readily, like paint and vinyl flooring. The hospital's fresh take on color in the patient units was especially fun to work with, says Steph­anie L. Wennerlund, IIDA, interior designer, ESa. "We almost couldn't get it bright enough for them," she says.

Lobby desk of St. Anthony Hospital.  Wood panels and stone tile highlight the natural environment of Colorado.

'Inside-out' design

Tim Keenan, administrative director of support services, St. Anthony Hospital, says, "Typically, buildings are built from the outside in," with the exterior footprint taking precedence in the design. For St. Anthony, the team started with the patient room and designed the floor plan and support services outward from there, for greater efficiency, he says.

To reduce walking distances, the patient units are laid out in a racetrack configuration, with support spaces in the middle. "The goal is to shave two or three miles off each nurse's shift," says Burnette. Pre- and post-occupancy testing will determine how walking distances compare with those at the previous facility.

Small oasis rooms on the medical units give caregivers quiet spaces to decompress or even receive a massage during a stressful shift. A thoughtful work environment is intended to improve staff retention.

The patient rooms contain a number of features for the comfort and safety of patients and staff, including grab bars that lead from the bed to the bathroom, patient lifts and observation windows with integrated miniblinds that can be opened for patient visibility or closed for patient pri­vacy. Double doors at each patient room facilitate patient transport.

Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging equipment are located immediately adjacent to the surgical center on the facility's second floor. The hospital's floor system and structural frame are designed to handle the additional load of this equipment and to prevent building vibration from interfering with sensitive procedures.

The hospital's 76-bed intensive care unit also is located on the second floor, near the surgical center, catheterization laboratory and interventional radiology procedural platform.

Community embrace

Since the replacement facility opened, patient satisfaction scores have risen from the 35th percentile to the 88th percentile and the hospital's turnover rate is down, Tobin reports. "The Lakewood community has really embraced this hospital," he says. "We hear all the time they've never seen a hospital like this."

Amy Eagle is a freelance writer based in Homewood, Ill., and a regular contributor to Health Facilities Management.

Sidebar - Facility's building automation system provides increased operational efficiency

The hospital's building automation system monitors 32,000 points of energy use at the facility, including lights, temperature, airflow, humidity and relative air pressures. Tim Keenan, administrative director of support services, St. Anthony Hospital, Lakewood, Colo., is working to have the building certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, so he can benchmark the facility against other hospitals of a similar size.

"Everything we did in the design, we had energy efficiency in mind," he says. This includes installing high-efficiency boilers and chillers and an efficient steam sterilizer system that drains water only when it is needed for cooling, as opposed to draining 24 hours a day.

The hospital's automated lighting system includes a daylight harvesting feature that fades the lights out as the building gets brighter at sunrise, and gradually brings them up again as the sun begins to set. Dual-level occupancy sensors in offices and storage rooms automatically turn lights off in unoccupied spaces. At the previous facility, "lights would be on pretty much 24 hours a day. Here, you're out of the room 10 or 15 minutes and those lights are out," Keenan says.

An automated laundry, waste handling and recycling system provides operational efficiency. The system features two pneumatic tubes, each nearly 16 inches in diameter — one for laundry, one for waste and recycling — that run parallel up the patient towers. Users simply load material into the appropriate tube to send the material to a laundry bin, trash compactor or single-stream recycling compactor. For the waste and recycling tube, users simply press a red button for trash or a green button for recycling; material is diverted accordingly. Recycled material is weighed for data-tracking purposes.

Keenan estimates that without this system, he would need five to seven additional full-time employees to manage laundry and waste handling. "That's a lot of cost savings," he says.

Sidebar - Trauma center designed for quick emergency response

Flight For Life Colorado, which provides critical care air transport for seriously ill or injured patients in the region, is based at St. Anthony Hospital, Lakewood, Colo. "The Flight For Life team was a very integral part of our operational user group," says Sam W. Burnette, AIA, EDAC, senior designer/principal, Earl Swensson Associates Inc. (ESa), Nashville, Tenn.

To help Flight For Life manage the area's erratic wind conditions, the hospital was designed with upper and lower helipads. "The winds can change on a dime, so they wanted the ability to have one helipad on the ground and another one up on the roof," says Burnette.

Multiple helipad locations not only provide additional safety for pilots and passengers, they allow the hospital to receive patients in more than one helicopter at a time, provided the landings are carefully coordinated. The upper helipad includes a pull-off pad where one helicopter can be moved to the side so another can land. "Potentially, you could have three helicopters at once," says Ryan Tobin, St. Anthony's administrator of operations.

The lower helipad is located directly outside the emergency department. The upper helipad is just off the surgical floor. A custom-built, oversized trauma elevator speeds patients from either location to a dedicated trauma operating room in seconds.

To ensure the trauma elevator would be large enough for all emergencies, the designers measured around an entire trauma team, including a gurney and equipment. "We put all the equipment that would come off the helicopter, all the people around it — the lab staff, the surgeons, anesthesiologists, respiratory techs and flight nurses — and then we put a perimeter all the way around them with masking tape," says Tim Keenan, administrative director of support services at St. Anthony. "We said, 'This is what we want. Make us one.'"

Sidebar - SPEC SHEET

Principal Design Materials Carpet/Carpet tile: Atlas, Bentley Prince Street Inc., Flexco, Mohawk Group, Patcraft, Shaw and Tandus Flooring Inc. Ceiling: CertainTeed Corp. and USG Corp. Curtainwall framing: Kawneer Decorative partitions: 3form Inc. Door hardware: Assa Abloy, Häfele America Co. and Stylmark Inc. Doors: Maiman Co. Flooring: Mannington, Stonhard and Teknoflor Glass and window film and solar shading: PPG Industries Inc. Lighting: Architectural Lighting Works, Beta-Calco Inc., B-K Lighting, Canlet, Challenger Lighting Co., Cooper Lighting, Electrix Inc., Elite Lighting Co., Evenlite Inc., Evergreen Lighting, Focal Point, Hampstead Lighting, Hubbardton Forge, Hydrel, Insight Lighting, Intense Lighting, Litecontrol, Lithonia Lighting, Louis Poulson Lighting Inc., Lumetta Inc., Peerless, Philips Color Kinetics, Philips Group, Prima Lighting, Prudential Ltg., Scott Architectural Lighting, Tech Lighting, WE-EF, Winona Lighting and Winona Lighting's Winscape division Paint: Sherwin-Williams Co. Plumbing fixtures: Component Hardware Group Inc. (faucets), Elkay Manufacturing Co. (sinks) and Zurn Industries (flush valves) Roofing: Centria (metal panels) and Firestone Building Products (thermoplastic polyolefin) Signage: Creo Industrial Arts and FMG Design Inc. Tile: Crossville Inc., Daltile, GranitiFiandre and Ragno USA Inc. Wall coverings: Arc-Com Fabrics Inc., Eykon, Genesys, MDC, Maharam, Singer, Wolf-Gordon and York Wallcoverings Window treatments: MechoShade Systems Inc. Principal Furnishings Cafeteria seating: Lowenstein Cafeteria tables: FurnitureLab Conference tables: Nienkämper and Steelcase Inc. Files, shelving and office desks: Steelcase Inc. Lounge seating: Kimball International Inc.'s National Office Furniture unit Office seating: Kimball International Inc.'s National Office Furniture unit and Via Seating Patient room seating: Hill-Rom and Krug Inc. Major medical equipment Catheterization laboratory and patient monitoring equipment: Philips Magnetic resonance imaging: GE Healthcare Medical gas equipment: BeaconMedæs Operating room booms: Berchtold Corp. Operating room integration: Karl Storz Endoskope Infrastructure Boilers: Cleaver-Brooks Building management system and chillers: Johnson Controls Inc. Electrical equipment: Alcan Products Corp. (aluminum wiring/cabling), Cummins Inc. (generators), Encore Wire Corp. (copper wiring), General Electric (distribution equipment, paralleling switchgear and automatic transfer switches) and Okonite Co. (medium voltage cables) Fire safety: Notifier by Honeywell HVAC (misc.): Alfa Laval (heat exchangers), Baltimore Aircoil Co. Inc. (air cooling towers), Emerson Electric Co. (air conditioning units), Greenheck Fan Corp. (fans), International Environmental Corp. (fan coil units), Grundfos Group (pumps), Price Industries (air terminals), Runtal North America Inc. (radiators), Temtrol (air handling units), Thermaflo (heat exchangers) and Zehnder Rittling (cabinet unit heaters) Security: Lenel Systems International Inc. Plumbing accessories: Ajax Boiler Inc. (water heaters)

Information provided by Earl Swensson Associates Inc.