A new $75 million tower and renovation at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Surgery & NICU in Knoxville aim to provide superior care in a contemporary facility that emphasizes family comfort and abundant natural light.      

The new 271,121-square-foot tower houses a 14-room surgery platform, multispecialty outpatient clinics and a 44-room, all-private neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to meet the area's growing demand for pediatric health services.

The expansion and renovation of vacated space in the the old building fulfills the goals of Children’s Hospital’s strategic master plan to upgrade its facilities and enhance its visibility as a comprehensive pediatric center.

The design by East Tennessee-based BarberMcMurry architects and architecture firm Shepley Bulfinch, Boston, reflects the hospital’s commitment to provide exceptional patient- and family-centered care.

The roof garden with a view of the Smokey Mountains and the multilevel glass bridge featuring both family and public spaces became the central design features of the new expansion.

The metal panel exterior frames the bridges and the roof garden, creating an urban signature for the new expansion, while the use of terra cotta on the façade blends the addition with the existing brickwork of the older hospital buildings.

The bridge, spanning the entryway below, joins new and old, while the public spaces and roof garden animate the campus. The five-story tower, which seems to change color depending on the vantage point, emphasizes the significance of natural light in this project. The entire expansion sits atop a 165-space, two-story parking garage.

A key aspect of the project is the 44-bed NICU located on the top floor of the building. Featuring all private rooms, amenities in the new space include a family suite with kitchen facilities, resource center and a walk-out roof garden that provides a respite for families and staff.

The large private rooms allow for unlimited bonding time with parents and other family members, especially siblings who had previously been prohibited from visiting because of space limitations and potential health concerns.

“We have a NICU that is focused on both babies and family members who can now be present with their baby 24/7 to promote critically important bonding,” says Keith Goodwin, president and CEO, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. “We wanted to create a supportive family environment, and this unit has plenty of open light and soothing colors, which help to reduce stress levels for everyone,” he says.

To ensure that every private NICU room had direct exterior/daylight access, Barber McMurry and Shepley Bulfinch incorporated light courts into the design and planning of the unit.

This resulted in a neighborhood concept for the NICU to create intimate healing spaces for families and to provide clinical teams with the necessary support services to deliver efficient and effective care.

The light courts provide daylight to every interior room and define the neighborhood organizational model for the unit, making the space feel more personal and private and contributing to intuitive wayfinding.

As an added benefit, the light courts also feature 3-D artwork by local artists that are integrated into the Children’s Hospital’s family healing art program. Cross-functional teams at the hospital worked closely with the design team to engage all NICU stakeholders in the process.

In other health care facility news:

  • Cypress Creek Medical Pavilion LLC, developers of the future 82,000-square-foot Cypress Creek Medical Pavilion, held a recent groundbreaking ceremony at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., site.

    The medical hub will offer build-to-suit suites for physicians and physician groups, medical services and laboratories. Anchoring the facility will be an estimated 19,000-square-foot ambulatory surgery center on the ground floor. 

  • Duke Realty, Indianapolis, will begin development of a five-level, 420-car parking deck at Northside Hospital’s Center Pointe I and II medical office buildings (MOBs) in Sandy Springs, Ga., for increased convenience for patients and workers. The two connected MOBs currently share 1,284 on-site surface and deck parking spaces.

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