As our team was designing the new 93-bed Germantown hospital, the 2008 economic recession hit hard and the project went on hold. Once the economy began improving and the project was revived, the parent system Trinity Health mandated that Holy Cross reduce its initial budget by more than 40%. Our integrated team accepted the challenge and was determined to work within the new financial constraints as well as create a positive patient experience as we began to redesign the entire project.
The team developed a strategy to separate the hospital into three components: a patient care tower with diagnostic and treatment facilities, a logistics/support wing, and a central utility plant. By pulling the less expensive, less code-intensive space out of the patient tower and reducing the more expensive footprint, we were able to generate significant cost savings. The modified design also introduced the notion of targeted flexibility to prepare the hospital for future changes in healthcare delivery. We lowered costs by paying attention to the details as well: reducing floor-to-floor heights; prefabricating conduit racks, piping assemblies and headwalls to reduce installation time; and and reducing the column grid, making the whole building smaller without sacrificing any program elements.
Staying on budget was not our only consideration. Holy Cross wanted a
facility that would reflect the community’s culture and roots. SmithGroup drew inspiration from the county’s agrarian landscape; designing bronze-colored metal canopies at the main entries that echo nearby orchards and using natural stone in the healing garden walls and the building’s base that mirror the community’s historic mills.
A positive patient experience was the top priority, and the design creates a space that is calming, using soft colors and natural materials such as wood, stone, and porcelain. The garden reflects the Catholic hospital’s mission to heal the body, mind, and spirit and provides space for quiet contemplation, while green roofs and drought-tolerant native plantings harmonize with the beautiful landscape. Large expanses of glass in public spaces and patient rooms capture the healing and spiritual qualities of light and transparency.
Now with two state-of-the-art medical facilities, Montgomery County can take quality care of its growing community.