Intermountain Healthcare American Fork Hospital Renovation
- December 5, 2019
- Healthcare Architecture, Hospital Architect, Remodel Architecture, Utah County Architects
The Value of Architecture for Active, Fully Functioning Healthcare Environments
Updating an active, fully functioning healthcare environment is a CMA healthcare team specialty – one we were able to deliver with recent improvements to American Fork Hospital. The remodel of five areas of the hospital provided an opportunity for Intermountain Healthcare to enhance care, serve community needs, improve patient wayfinding, and increase the hospital’s bottom line – all within a growing Utah County community. “We love a challenge of solving real problems and finding design solutions to improve conditions for patients, healthcare staff, and facility managers,” says Principal Gerrit Timmerman.
As one of the major areas of remodel the hospital’s main lobby area was updated to improve wayfinding and orientation through intuitive architecture and signage. “We know the patient experience can have a healing effect and it begins at the front door,” describes Principal in Charge Jay Taggart. “A patient and his family shouldn’t wonder where to go for surgery or radiology. That’s what this remodel was about – letting the architecture tell you where you needed to go.”
The hospital’s existing layout, which combined the patient corridor with the administrative hallway, created a confusing and at times awkward path of travel. This orientation meant patients on stretchers were wheeled past public areas such as the gift shop and cafeteria. CMA designed a separate, private patient corridor, which greatly improved privacy and flow.
The project included a major renovation and update to the interiors on the hospital’s Women’s Center. Security checkpoints were relocated to include the lobby, and a new infant protection system supports Intermountain Healthcare’s mission to provide deliver technological solutions that help patients and those who provide care.
CMA completed a specialized life safety study of the entire facility, looking at the building elements designed to protect and evacuate the building during emergencies such as fires, earthquakes, and even power outages. Smoke-compartment areas were designated to provide protected areas of the building where patients can be moved during emergencies.
A request to remove an existing fire rating from a portion of the hospital structure highlights our team’s willingness to solve problems. CMA researched existing building drawings and the code under which the existing building was constructed. The team saw an opportunity within the current code that provided an increase in allowable area per floor where the original code capped the entire building at a reduced allowable area. Research was validated and accepted by both the local fire marshal and the state fire marshal. The effort resulted in the de-rating of a 4-hour fire-rated construction to a 1-hour fire-rated smoke compartment separation wall with a 20-min fire-rated smoke sealed door assembly. “Understanding the importance of building materials, products, and technologies helped us take the facility from a 20-year old code to existing code,” explains Gerrit. “We also provided the owner with the ability and flexibility to better manage, update, and maintain the facility.”
The team’s knowledge of regulatory design code requirements, life safety codes, and hospital equipment standards proved invaluable for addition of a new x-ray suite. Relocating the room adjacent to the emergency room meant reviewing existing drawings to modify current structural elements. The result was an improvement in workflow, reducing the number of steps and distance traveled to accomplish a task.
While no renovation project can be termed easy, CMA’s eagerness to delve into the complexities of these projects alleviated the inherent challenges associated with healthcare construction. At the end of the day, we are successful when our clients are successful.