Black River Medical Center, Cades, South Carolina

Black River Medical Center is a new rural hospital in Cades, S.C., serving the state’s Williamsburg and lower Florence counties.

Opened in January 2023, the 64,000-square-foot facility houses 25 inpatient beds and five observation rooms, a 16-bed emergency department with four observation rooms, imaging services, operating-room suite, pharmacy, and lab to cover a full range of services needed to serve the community. The hospital was designed with future expansion in mind as well.

Consolidating two regional hospitals into one

Two hospitals that had served the region, Williamsburg Regional Hospital and Lake City Community Hospital, had been dealing with the financial challenges typical of many rural hospitals throughout the U.S. Additionally, in 2015, Williamsburg Regional was severely damaged by a thousand-year rain event and eventually condemned.

Working together, both facilities agreed to transfer their operations and consolidate their services to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC; Charleston, S.C.) to open a new facility in Cades. The new medical center provides access to quality healthcare in the region as well as brings MUSC’s mission of education, research, and patient care to this rural area of South Carolina.

Community buy-in was paramount during the planning stages for the Black River Medical Center. The design process included patient advocacy representatives and staff from the former hospitals to align patient, family experience, and clinical expectations with the new facility.

Nature-inspired interior design

With a welcoming curved-glass curtain wall at the entrance, Black River Medical Center resembles many of the other hospitals that make up MUSC’s comprehensive academic health system.

The hospital’s interior blends calming neutral tones and nature-inspired colors with an off-white background. Wall graphics bring in natural colors and patterns found in the local ecosystem, while artwork by local artists celebrates the area’s culture.

Inpatient rooms are designed with a patient and staff zone; nature graphics at the headwall and local artwork; and space for family members to spend the night.

Designed to provide maximum flexibility and efficiency of space, the cafeteria serves as a multipurpose room and is also connected to a covered outdoor dining space.

Black River Medical Center’s commitment to energy reduction through energy-efficient lighting and controls, HVAC system monitoring and controls, and low-flow fixtures helped it to earn two Green Globes for reducing environmental impacts and improving occupant wellness.

Black River Medical Center project details

Location: Cades, S.C.

Completion date: January 2023

Owner: Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Total building area: 64,000 sq. ft.

Total construction cost: $50 million

Architect: McMillan Pazdan Smith

Interior designer: McMillan Pazdan Smith

General contractor: Rodgers Builders and Thompson Turner

Engineers: GMK Associates (MEP), Stewart (structural engineer), J&A Engineering (low voltage), ADC Engineering (civil)

Medical equipment planner: Smith Seckman Reid

Project details are provided by the design team and not vetted by Healthcare Design.