As a landmark for a new community, the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel campus is the latest addition in the provider’s Tampa Bay division. Partnering with HuntonBrady Architects (Orlando), the staff and design team created design directives for the $81 million project, such as recognize the location, enhance time optimization, and provide a fresh approach to architecture. Future vertical and horizontal expansion without displacing existing departments was also a strong driver in the layout.

The 200,000-gross-square-foot facility, which opened in September 2012, is designed as a three-story radial spoke concept that provides visitors with a dramatic sense of arrival and clear wayfinding. A three-story atrium orients all public components from the inner radius, while providing a separate space for patients, staff, and supplies to move on the middle radius. The atrium also allows an abundance of natural light into all three levels.

Planning for the new greenfield hospital involved working closely with staff to identify functional challenges and collaborate on the operational and design elements. A lean healthcare consultant also was employed to work with the team during planning and early design phases. Floor plans and computerized renderings were reviewed with physicians and clinical staff to ensure the new environment would improve safety, operational efficiency, and the patient experience.

The team relied on research and lean principles to address design of the patient rooms, patient units, emergency department, clinical laboratory, surgery, and sterile processing, with special attention paid to work flow, adjacencies, optimization of staff time, and functional tasks. Throughout the facility, large windows offer natural light and views, while multiple gardens provide spaces for family, patient, and staff respite.

The greenfield site itself posed particular challenges since one-third was deeded wetlands. Florida’s wetlands preservation laws required multiple reviews with many government agencies. HuntonBrady worked with the civil engineer to create a three-phase site plan to demonstrate how the hospital could grow and make best use of the site, while minimizing impact on current operations. For this reason, departments most likely to expand are on the first level and have exterior walls.