Mountain Park Health Center, formerly a boat dealership, transformed into a nonprofit community health center with the goal to be the visual expression of health to the surrounding underserved and vulnerable population in Tempe, Ariz.

The $12 million Federally Qualified Health Center, which was one of five facility tours at the 2018 HCD Expo & Conference in Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 10., gave attendees an opportunity to tour the 30,000-square-foot facility.

Designed by SmithGroupJJR, Mountain Park features an entrance and waiting area filled with natural light, 40 exam rooms, intuitive wayfinding using color and flooring transitions, conference rooms, a guided walking trail with activity nodes, a small citrus  orchard, tree nursery, native plantings, and an additional 10,000 square feet of space for future growth.

The design team was challenged by the constraints of the physical site and tasked with creating a medical home that not only provides healthcare but also integrates the surrounding community into the center. The entrance serves as a landing touchpoint as patients and visitors enter, providing Wifi, technology, and a moment to pause before continuing to check-in or as people wait for transportation.

Brightly colored toy dogs in the children’s waiting area bring an element of fun without making the space too juvenile and the different sizes and types of seating allow patients and visitors to have freedom of choice and comfort.

Color plays its part in guiding patients to the respective clinic areas as they move through the building. The sliding exam room doors were a creative solution that allowed the design team to gain a little more space for the rooms. The exam rooms are grouped into pods allowing patients to be seen by a range of healthcare providers in one setting and one visit, ranging from a primary care physician to a pharmacist, behavioral health consultant, and registered dietitian.

The onstage/offstage concourse provides support areas for staff that are open and encourage collaboration while the spacious staff break room features a variety of seating options and an enclosed patio for outdoor respite.

The health center is an inviting and approachable space that has opened its doors to the community to provide dignity of choice, diversity of services, and opportunity for medical and academic education.