A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of Medicine Hat Regional Hospital’s new Ambulatory Care Building on July 25. The 245,000 square-foot expansion of the hospital was designed by Gibbs Gage Architects and Diamond Schmitt Architects in joint venture.
The addition significantly transforms the community hospital by providing expanded and consolidated ambulatory care clinics, labour and delivery suites, NICU and major surgical facilities. A central atrium provides a new community gathering space for the hospital, connects in-patient spaces within the existing hospital to the new facilities and renews public areas by providing a spacious, light-filled environment.
“A human centric approach has informed all aspects of our clinical planning to ensure the safe, efficient delivery of clinical services within a soothing, de-stressed environment.” said Greg Colucci, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “The commitment to patient care is expressed architecturally throughout, from the welcoming and sheltered wood-lined entry, comfortable waiting areas, and private, light-filled treatment rooms that offer views of the vast prairie sky.”
The four-floor facility features patient services such as registration, maternal and renal clinics on the ground floor and day medicine, ambulatory care and cancer clinics on the second floor. Dedicated corridors for patient transfer from the existing hospital wing connect to maternal labour and delivery and ambulatory surgery on the third floor and surgical pre-operative and operating suites on the fourth floor. The rooftop of the facility features a helipad to allow patient transfer to emergency services.
Public areas of the expanded hospital feature a neutral colour palette to provide a calm, light-filled waiting space and to differentiate clinical areas by their distinct colour tones, which are visible from the atrium. Bright orange, yellow and green were used to define these areas, adding a wayfinding element to the hospital’s interior design. The facility’s other design elements include naturally lit procedure rooms with fritted glass windows and a staff rest area on the perimeter of the fourth-floor surgical suites.
The building’s exterior is comprised of distinct forms in different materials to break down the massing and fit in with both the existing hospital wing and the surrounding low-rise suburban buildings.
“The addition reads as a composition of elements and openings which don’t necessarily relate to clinical program areas within,” added Colucci. “Rather, they are shaped and arranged to reduce the scale of this large addition to the scale of buildings in the vicinity.”
Renovations are being completed within the existing inpatient tower on a phased schedule, including increasing the emergency department to approximately 22,000 square feet, and will include expanded diagnostic imaging services.
This expansion and renewal addresses deficiencies in healthcare capacity in the growing southern Alberta catchment area, updates infrastructure and elevates infection control standards at the hospital. The facility is targeting LEED certification and is planned for service capacity increases and flexibility over the next 20 to 25 years.