Following the merger of two hospitals, Covenant Healthcare System decided to combine patient volumes from their two existing, undersized, and outdated emergency departments into one new facility. The goals for the new facility were to develop a high-tech treatment center in an environment that would calm anxious emergency patients and their families and greatly improve operational effectiveness and the quality of patient care.

Every aspect of the Emergency Care Center (ECC) was designed with both patient and staff in mind. Separate ambulance and ambulatory entrances decrease congestion upon arrival. A spacious three-story lobby greets ambulatory patients. Private triage rooms adjacent to the lobby allow registration to be completed at bedside, further reducing patient and family stress. Replacing the traditional thin curtains in the treatment rooms are glass doors, offering privacy while maintaining visibility from two central nursing stations. Treatment rooms are oversized to accommodate families and staff comfortably.

Cross-traffic was minimized for both patient privacy and staffing efficiency. A dedicated emergency elevator provides direct access to Imaging/Diagnostics and to a 14-room observation/chest-pain center. A bypass corridor connects visitors to the main hospital without their having to travel through the ECC.

A 12-bed Pediatric Unit within the ECC is separated from the main treatment area through the use of graphics and design. Colorful wall murals painted by local artists adorn walls and windows in the unit, focusing young minds on scenes inspired by nature.

Project category: New construction (completed November 2001)

Chief administrator: Carol Stoll, Director, Emergency Department; J. Spadafore, MD, Medical Director, (989) 583-6065

Firm: SSOE, Inc., (248) 643-6222

Design team: Eric Murrell, Architect; Narendra Amin, Structural Engineer; Alex Dragoiu, Mechanical Engineer; Jeff Bodway, Electrical Engineer; Michael Hoeflein, Civil Engineer

Photography: ©2001 Cris Burkhalter

Total building area (GSF): 142,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $123

Total cost (excluding land): $16,300,000