A flood study was completed to set the finished floor elevation above the 1,000-year flood level.

Image courtesy of Gresham Smith

Baptist Health Care built a new greenfield hospital and medical campus in Pensacola, Fla. During design, the team had to acknowledge the severity of Pensacola’s weather events, as demonstrated by ever-worsening climate-related events in Florida. Baptist chose to assess how the new location could be impacted by the changing climate conditions and incorporated resiliency into the design, knowing it wanted to ensure its new facility could serve the community for 75 to 100 years into the future.

An integrated team of environmental scientists, architects, engineers and designers worked with Baptist Health Care to gather data on climate predictions and determine which climate hazards would most threaten the project site in the future. These included hurricanes, inland flooding and water scarcity, to name a few.

The team then identified which of the hospital’s assets and systems were critical to keeping it online and functioning. The study resulted in a design that better protects the new hospital and medical campus in the event of a climate disaster.

It incorporated mitigation and adaptation strategies, such as relocating utilities above flood zones, adding stormwater retention features and strategically landscaping the property to redirect water flow to protect the hospital’s most important services and infrastructure.

An in-depth flood study was conducted on the site to determine the optimal finished floor elevation of the buildings. This enables protection against rising inland flooding events.

Additionally, a detailed analysis of the structural systems and the building envelope was conducted. This analysis allowed the team to propose systems and employ appropriate design decisions that help fortify the hospital against the increasing intensity of hurricanes.

“We have an opportunity to learn from what we have experienced in the past and to harden ourselves, by creating a more sustainable and resilient campus,” says John Porter, vice president of construction services at Baptist Health Care. “We will be prepared for what we know will be coming our way.”