Project category: New construction (completed March 2007)

Chief administrator: Craig Aasved, Chief Executive Officer, (406) 863-3552

Firm: Johnson Johnson Crabtree Architects, PC, (615) 837-0656

Design team: David J. Brown, AIA, NCARB, Architect (Johnson Johnson Crabtree Architects, PC); Interior Designer, Wanda Palus Interiors; Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, BP Engineering, Inc.; Structural Engineer, Carpenter Wright Engineers, PLLC; Civil Engineer, Littlejohn Engineering; Landscape Architect, Sitescape Associates

Photography: Trevon Baker Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 82,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $208

Total construction cost (excluding land): $17,071,256

“Putting patients first” is the heart and soul of North Valley Hospital. This passion took shape when a group of doctors, department heads, an administrator, and an architect determined the entire design should center on providing direct views of Glacier National Park from the patient rooms. This was the start, and consistent with its Planetree philosophy, North Valley shaped its new hospital around this passion.

Within the entire design, the team focused on three particular elements: clarity of circulation for patients and staff, optimal patient room environment, and an overall sense of comfort and ease.

Clear circulation was established by creating access to patient services off a public mall and creating a parallel staff circulation that connects the departments behind the scenes. Translucent doors automatically swing shut at the two points where staff may cross the public domain.

The patient room environment was established using the following methods: thorough research of precedents; community surveys conducted on the use and number of private and semiprivate rooms; and construction of a full-scale, furnished mock-up in the basement of the old hospital. Whitefish is a mix of retired elderly people and young professionals. Community surveys clearly indicated the need to address both demographics. Young professionals sought more privacy while the elderly did not.

Semiprivate rooms, or garden rooms, are designed so that each person has a private room next to a common bathroom. Each occupant has access to a healing garden patio through French doors. The two room areas are carefully positioned so that patients lying down do not have a direct sight line to their neighbor. However, if both patients position their beds upright, they can see each other and communicate. Both private and semiprivate rooms accommodate family members with full daybeds for visitation or overnight stays.

An overall sense of comfort and ease was established through various avenues. Carpet lines the patient care corridors to quiet the traffic. Donated artwork and sculpture from local artisans are enjoyed throughout the hospital. Vibrating beepers are used to contact staff in lieu of overhead paging. Convenient equipment rooms were added to store clutter. Seating is comfortable and intimate. Every detail was addressed.