To improve access to affordable healthcare services, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center operates more than 20 Federally Qualified Health Centers in West Haven, Conn., and the surrounding area.

Its most recent project was replacing an older clinic that the organization had outgrown. The health center collaborated with Svigals + Partners (New Haven, Conn.) to identify a viable site.

A nearby former funeral home provided a convenient location and enough square footage to accommodate the clinic’s medical, dental, and behavioral health service needs.

But the existing site presented some challenges—not the least of which was changing local perceptions of the building and its services.

Renovation steps

A refreshed exterior design was the first step in delivering that message. Specifically, the project team replaced the existing dark-brick building’s mansard-style roof line, deep canopies, and overhangs.

The process included:

  • removing the faux-mansard roof appliqué
  • covering the brick with a light-colored stucco that has a subtle textural pattern
  • erecting a new canopy over the entrance finished in steel and wood.

“The canopy establishes a new professional identity for the building, projecting a warm, inviting character and an approachable human scale,” Doug Lovegren, architect and partner at Svigals + Partners, said in a release.

Interior refresh

Inside, the full-gut renovation organized the 10,000-square-foot program between two floors. Medical and dental offices are housed at street level. Behavioral health programs and a staff break room are located in the newly refinished basement.

To create a welcoming arrival experience, the waiting room incorporates glazed walls and doors, LED lighting, wood-look flooring, and a glass screen wall with a foliage-inspired etching.

Anne DiNardo is executive editor of Healthcare Design magazine. She can be reached at