The University of Florida Health (UF Health) joins a growing roster of healthcare systems nationwide bringing leading-edge healthcare to mall settings with UF Health The Oaks, a specialty clinic located at The Oaks Mall in Gainesville, Fla. The 139,000-square-foot clinic houses three specialties—ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and audiology—in a former big box retail space. A second phase of the project added a 25,000-square-foot outpatient surgical center to support ophthalmology and otolaryngology procedures. With the demand for ophthalmology, otolaryngology, and audiology services steadily on the rise, the decision to co-locate the full outpatient programs of all three practices in one centralized space aligns with UF Health’s strategic goal to make vital health resources more accessible to community members.

Intrinsic to the nature of this adaptive reuse project were several unique design challenges and opportunities that the design team harnessed for the benefit of UF Health, patients, and staff. The transformation of the former mall anchor store resulted in a space different from anything else in the Gainesville area. Its inventive layout was planned to accommodate the natural flow of visits to promote a seamless, efficient experience for patients, visitors, and staff. The clinic’s thoughtful, amenity-rich design includes patient-focused features such as welcoming, custom-designed artwork; natural daylighting; atypically high ceilings that allow for high-impact lighting features; and color-coded architectural features that create intuitive wayfinding to help patients more easily navigate the space. It also honors the owner’s reputation and serves as a compelling recruitment and retention tool for top medical talent.

Project category: Remodel/renovation

Chief administrator: Brad Pollitt, vice president facilities, UF Health

Firm: Flad Architects,

Design team: Flad Architects (medical programming, planning, and full architectural services); Charles Perry Partners, Inc. (construction manager); TLC Engineering for Architecture (engineer-MEP); Causseaux, Hewett, & Walpole Inc. (engineer-civil, site/landscape); Mitchell Planning Associates (medical equipment planner); Jenosky Consulting Inc. (architectural hardware)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 164,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $213

Total construction cost (excluding land): $34.9 million

Completed: June 2020