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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 22, 2012 9 years ago

Medical Maneuvers

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The design plan behind one of the newest hospitals on the Gulf Coast focused on patient experience.
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Project: St. Joseph's Hospital-North in Lutz, a three-story, 350,000-square-foot facility with 108 private patient rooms and a 52-bed medical/surgical unit. The hospital is a satellite facility of Clearwater-based BayCare Health System.

The construction value of the project is about $142 million, a figure that surpasses $225 million when it includes medical equipment and technology. The hospital, which opened in 2010, is the first medical center built on a greenfield site in the Tampa area in 35 years. A 50,000-square-foot medical office complex was built next to the hospital.

Features: A well-recognized attribute is the resort-like quality of the facility. Many patients have commented on it, everything from beds to sunlight in the rooms to the hospital cafeteria. Indeed, local residents and people who work in the area eat lunch at the hospital's Twig Cafe, which is run by a Culinary Institute of America graduate.

“We took into consideration all the things you would feel as patients,” says Sharon Mangione, a partner and marketing manager with the architecture firm, Rañon & Partners. “You don't want to feel like you're in an institutionalized place.”

Another unique feature: Nearly all the hospital rooms are identical. That makes it easier for training, and nurses know where to look for everything, no matter the room.

Hurdles: A significant challenge came toward the end of the project, when the architects discovered that despite previous approvals and permits, the main vehicle entrance would have to shift to another road. Hillsborough County officials revised some rules regarding the amount of vehicles in an area, which forced the change.

Solutions: The firm altered the location of the entrance, a domino-like endeavor that impacted many other aspects of the project, from landscaping to lighting to signage. It also added several hundred thousand dollars to the cost of the project. “That was a painful shock,” Tanner says.

“We ended up designing our way around it, but it was unfortunate.”

Company: Rañon & Partners was founded in 1956 in Tampa. It has worked in a variety of commercial sectors, from education to health care. The firm's past health care clients include Tampa General Hospital and the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. The company has nine employees.

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