The idea: Boston Medical Center (BMC), a 496-bed academic medical center, serves as the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. Both entities needed a collaborative space that could serve the medical school and hospital by offering simulation practices—the use of computerized mannequins that simulate real-life medical scenarios—in anesthesia, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, surgery, orthopedic surgery, and nursing education.

While some simulation space already existed on-site at the medical school, a new dedicated center would allow for both the physicians and nursing programs to share a single, larger facility. And thanks to the construction of a new emergency department, a vacated first-floor space at the medical center’s Newton Pavilion offered an ideal location.

How they did it: It wasn’t just the empty space that made the Newton Pavilion space such a great fit; the empty ED also came with a good deal of the infrastructure required for the simulation center already in place, including headwall medical gas services, OR lights, glass-front patient rooms, and plumbing for clean/soiled utility rooms. The area also boasted a separate entry, an existing locker room, and enough square footage to house a meeting area and storage space.

Building out the space proved to be a cost-effective approach to construction, too, with the layout of the old ED studied to make its reuse as efficient as possible while minimizing demolition. The project included updates, too, including new finishes throughout, additional glass front entries to two patient rooms, and the creation of divisible conference space with an overhead partition designed for better acoustics.

The big reveal: The result is a 4,000-square-foot center designed by Tsoi/Kobus & Associates (Cambridge, Mass.) that features three simulation rooms to accommodate the high-tech mannequins and control rooms; classroom space for up to 40 students; two task trainer rooms for up to 20 students; three inpatient rooms, including ICU space for critical care training; office space with allocations for audio/visual personnel to manage the sophisticated software required by the space; and storage for equipment change-out and repair.

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