W.M. Jordan Company

VCU Critical Care Hospital Named VISTA Award Winner

March 6, 2012


RICHMOND, VA – The project team at the Critical Care Hospital at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCUHS) received high marks for teamwork, communications and post-occupancy results.

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, HKS Architects, Jones Lang LaSalle, and the W. M. Jordan Company were honored with a VISTA award from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The national award, presented at the 2012 International Conference and Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design, and Construction (PDC) on March 4-7 in Phoenix, recognizes teamwork in the design and construction of the healthcare environment.

Since 1993, the ASHE and the AHA have recognized design and construction initiatives across the United States through the VISTA Award program.

The VISTA Award honors teams that have worked together to develop and maintain safe, quality healthcare environments, demonstrating effective and efficient communication and relying on data-based decision-making processes. The VISTA Awards are not design awards; instead, the program focuses on the project’s key stakeholders—individuals who have been involved from inception to completion as well as during any post-occupancy evaluations.

Patient and healthcare provider safety were the overarching goals in the design and construction of the Critical Care Hospital, reflective of input from more than 600 doctors, nurses, staff and patients in a collaborative effort that, at its completion, exceeded all of set expectations.

Containing 232 private patient rooms, the 15-level hospital is digitally wired to accommodate the frequent communications required by critical care units and designed so that medical equipment and personnel are easily accessible. In addition, innovative safety and critical care features include:

Completed ahead of schedule and under budget, the Critical Care Hospital is located within the historic Court End District of the City of Richmond, Virginia and is neighbor to the home of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall and the White House of the Confederacy. To show respect for its historic location, the Critical Care Hospital’s exterior was designed to complement and highlight the historic neighbors without overwhelming them.

Open for almost three years, the Critical Care Hospital has revolutionized patient care and launched a new era in how seriously injured patients receive treatment.

“The critical care hospital has exceeded all the expectations of the VCU Health System,” said Bob Reardon, chief facilities officer, VCU Health System. “Collaboration between the delivery team of HKS Architects, Jones Lange LaSalle and the VCUHS clinical staff, produced a building that is safe and welcoming to our patients and their families.”

At the dedication ceremony, the president of Virginia Commonwealth University and the president and chair of the VCU Health System stated; “The Critical Care Hospital is distinctive in its evidence-based design and architecture that is focused on quality care and patient safety. It is a state-of-the-art facility that combines the experience and research of our faculty and staff with newest technology.”

According to Leslie Hanson, AIA, principal and managing director of HKS Richmond, the overall design approach was to create a respectful, timeless image with a sense of permanence. The critical care hospital building’s exterior is classically designed with brick to blend with the existing historical Court End District setting. Additionally, the building serves as a new front door to the campus. This front door helps organize the campus while introducing a new lobby entrance for patients, visitors and staff.

“The hospital was completed under-budget, utilizing a fast-track schedule and collaborative team effort beginning early in design, continuing through construction completion,” said Hanson. “The fast-track schedule required the team to strategize from several vantage points early in design. While the architectural team generated design concepts with departmental users’ input, the construction manager developed demolition logistics for removing a generator building and electrical switchgear, and installing vibration calibration devices on surrounding historical structures.”

“Building a 15-story hospital on a tight historic urban campus provided many challenges, including site access,” said Skip Smith, project executive with W.M. Jordan. “With only one access point and a single-lane road for public parking, ambulance circulation, museum visitors and construction traffic, a temporary bridge was constructed to relieve traffic and enhance safety measures during construction.”

Connecting each floor to the existing hospital required implementation of extensive infection control, noise mitigation and air filtration plans to protect patients and staff. “Shutdowns and tie-ins were closely coordinated, minimizing disruptions. The construction crane’s location required careful logistic planning to coordinated helicopter traffic,” added Smith.

Many of the delivery processes implemented with the team helped VCUHS receive magnate status, given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center of the American Nurses Association, for nursing that delivers excellent patient outcomes. Enhanced communication among nurses, executive leadership and the entire architecture-engineering-construction healthcare team was prevalent throughout the project’s process.

A few benefits achieved based on post-occupancy review are: