Eskenazi Health – New Wishard Hospital

Wishard Health Services – soon to be renamed Eskenazi Health – is building a replacement hospital on Indiana University’s campus in Indianapolis. The $754 million project broke ground in May 2010 and is expected to be completed by December 2013. The hospital will begin treating patients the first quarter of 2014.

The 11-story, 1.7-million-square-foot Wishard Hospital replacement facility will feature 315 inpatient beds, 17 operating rooms, four interventional labs and 12 labor and delivery rooms. A state-of-the-art emergency department will house 90 treatment beds and a 20-bed clinical decision unit.

According to Tom Ringham, associate vice president of facilities transformation for Wishard Health Services, the decision to replace Wishard Hospital was based on the fact that Wishard wanted to improve the overall patient experience. Specifically, the current hospital has aged considerably and “does not have the infrastructure to support modern technology,” he says.

“We needed to make sure that the new facility was designed and built in such a way that it could change with technology,” Ringham adds. “We seem to be at the cusp right now of fully wired, functioning technology and mobility, and more wireless technology, so we have to accept the fact that our infrastructure needed to be designed around wire technology even though we may not use half of that as early as 2013.”

Seventeen buildings are scattered throughout the existing Wishard Hospital campus, which has made wayfinding difficult for patients and their families. A concise layout and electronic signage should eliminate this challenge at the new facility.  Wishard also serves the healthcare needs of inmates and detainees from nearby facilities, so when the organization sought to segregate its patient traffic more effectively, it found a unique solution.

The hospital will boast the second-largest parking garage in Indiana, which can accommodate up to 2,800 cars. Although it is an above-ground facility, the first level is three or four feet below grade at the north end, which will enable officials to bring inmates into the hospital without being seen.

Patient rooms will be vastly upgraded, with 100 percent of them being private rooms compared to a little less than half that were private at the existing facility. In addition to providing more comfortable environments for patients and their families, each room will be divided into two levels of care – critical and acuity-adaptable. “The additional flexibility to take care of those patients without moving them is a huge satisfier,” Ringham states.

National Skill, Local Scope

One of the most notable aspects of the New Wishard Hospital is its sustainability. The project is on track to obtain LEED Silver certification and will feature a roof vegetable garden. “It becomes a story of continued healthy living and an opportunity to educate our patients and their families,” Ringham says.

“One of our biggest green features was assuring our mechanical systems are designed to not only meet ASRAE guidelines that LEED establishes, but also contribute to the health of the environment itself,” he adds. “Our clinical building and hospital are so closely tied together that we decided to do 100 percent outside air for both. We are proud of the engineers’ ability to make that happen.”

Wishard’s program management team is led by Jacobs Engineering of Pasadena, Calif., working in conjunction with the Indiana office of Chicago-based Pepper Construction and five local construction management firms. HOK leads a large team of local architects and engineers that designed various components of the new healthcare campus. “Being a public facility, we had a strong desire to assure diversity was important to these teams and that they were inclusive to local partners both on the design side and construction management side,” Ringham says.

“From a design perspective, HOK has been as visionary as my leaders have allowed them to be, and we’re fortunate to have great leaders involved in our executive steering group that believe public buildings should contribute to the community’s architecture and not just be the plainest building we can create. HOK created something that is going to be very stunning and very beautiful, and the construction management team is very proactively engaging as the owner’s agent.

“We also have a wonderfully cooperative relationship with Indiana University in that they gave us the opportunity to invest $754 million on their campus,” he adds. Wishard has a more than 100-year-old partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine.

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