A new four-story, $305 million replacement wing, designed to reflect the region where it’s located, recently opened at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC), a safety net hospital providing care to an underserved population in Southern California.   

The 239,000-square-foot facility includes 128 hospital beds, an emergency department, intensive care and surgery with advanced technology, including the da Vinci Surgical System robotics. The new wing also will provide labor and delivery care and include a new pediatrics wing. 

Health care design firm HOK was part of the Clark Construction-led team responsible for design and delivery. It is the medical center’s first design-build project; construction began in 2013.

“As a safety net hospital, Ventura County Medical Center plays an important role in this community, providing a largely underserved part of the county’s population with high-quality, compassionate care,” says Paul Morgan, AIA, vice president and senior project architect, HOK. “The design of the replacement wing supports this commitment to the community and creates a new public front door for VCMC."

The design creates a cohesive aesthetic that blends the replacement wing with existing campus buildings. The design and construction team’s careful planning ensured that the existing hospital remained fully operational during construction.

“We wanted to maximize connectivity between the existing structure and replacement wing and thought creatively about how to fit the building in the middle of an established health care campus,” Morgan adds. 

The Southern California coast and Pacific Ocean inspired HOK’s design, particularly the selection of materials, textures and graphics. Subtly incorporating these elements throughout the replacement wing creates a calming environment for care.

The building’s sand-colored, precast concrete exterior complements the coastal-inspired colors and flowing white lines of the interior. A pier-inspired “boardwalk” guides visitors from surface parking to the new main entrance. 

HOK’s patient-centric design approach creates easily accessible and vibrant gathering areas, green space, courtyards, a healing garden, mountain views, a cafeteria open to the public and a children’s playground.

All of these elements elevate the experience for patients and their families and engage the community. Incorporating local vegetation in the landscaping contributes to lowering upkeep and helps to create an environment that is authentic to Ventura County.

“We anxiously anticipated the opening of the building," says Bryan Wong, M.D., VCMC’s medical director. "It's really a celebration for our patients, who will be cared for and healed in the new building. To say we’re excited is an understatement."

The team designed the project to stringent seismic requirements, conceived to ensure that patients can be treated at the hospital during a major earthquake.

In other health care facility news:

  •  Hackensack Meridian Health Ocean Medical Center, Brick, N.J., celebrated the opening of its new $18.5 million medical-surgical suite that features cutting-edge technology and comforting design.

    The med-surg suite utilizes color, music and natural light and technology to offer patients a welcoming, nurturing and healing atmosphere. It is dedicated to elective surgeries such as hip and joint replacements, bariatric and gastrointestinal procedures. 

    The unit, which tripled in size to 36,000 square feet, includes three state-of-the-art "neighborhoods" with 12 patient rooms and curved nurses' stations that increase line of sight into patient rooms and 36 private patient rooms with modern amenities designed to improve patient and family comfort.

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