The $69 million University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital opened its doors last month using design and technology to deliver patient-focused care. All of the patient rooms in the 155-bed hospital are sized and equipped for overnight family stays. Patient rooms in the 5th- and 6th-floor medical-surgical unit of the seven-story hospital contain 42-inch flat-screen TVs that offer in-room medical education options for patients and their families, as well as on-demand entertainment.
Providing quality care for children was the primary focus of the university from the outset, says Bryan Tunison, project architect for Proteus Group. The Chicago architectural firm took over the project at construction documentation from prime architect HLM's Chicago office after the office closed in 2003. HLM performed the medical planning and interior design of the project. The Mortenson/Meyne joint venture was construction manager.
The university wanted a design for the 251,700-sf hospital that was "appealing to children of all ages" and was "child-like but not childish," says Burn Sears, AIA, principal with Stanley Beaman & Sears. The Atlanta firm was the project's associate architect for design, creating the modern Gothic exterior of the hospital, as well as the interior public spaces.
Other patient-focused measures include a "communicating stair," which connects the fourth-floor pediatric intensive care unit with the south end of the third-floor surgical area, enabling nurses to bypass elevators and exit stairs. The second-floor neonatal intensive care unit features an "NICU island," which enables bedside charting. The 47-bed unit is programmed with six bays in two pods. Cross-corridor doors can be closed to isolate either pod if needed.
A pediatric emergency room addition to the hospital designed by Detroit-based SmithGroup will begin construction soon.