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Make the most of your design budget: 2017 Design Showcase projects leverage existing features.

Among the trends noted by the jury participating in the 2017 Behavioral Healthcare Executive Design Showcase, budget constraints became a significant topic of discussion. While owners and operators of treatment facilities want to make the most of the their money, they are well advised to spend precious dollars on design features and architectural initiatives that add to patient experiences in a positive way.

Even so, design projects must also have a longevity in their aesthetics and functionality to ensure the facility maintains its services and attracts patients for years to come. Color choice, furnishings and other homelike facets help create a desirable, welcoming atmosphere but must be balanced with long-term goals of flexibility as patient populations shift and services expand.

"A lot of it has to do with what the providers are reimbursed and what services they can get paid for," one juror commented during the panel discussion about this year's group of projects. "It makes them feel more comfortable spending more or not as much when they consider what is paid."

Reimbursement has been improving for behavioral health services, however, and jurors believe the trend will continue.

"Spending per square foot makes a big difference," another juror said. "They all had a budget to do a good job, and they all had enough money to make good decisions."

Additionally, jury members pointed out the need for safety and elimination of ligature points when necessary for vulnerable populations. Other topics discussed included the ongoing trend toward comfortable spaces that reduce the institutional look or feel of a facility as well as the need for quiet areas.


Jurors agreed on an Award of Merit for the Hazelden campus expansion in St. Paul, Minn., which was completed in April 2016. The residential and outpatient addiction treatment facility is located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River and is adjacent to an existing 19th century Victorian mansion that has served as a fellowship club since 1953.

With a total building area of 55,000 square feet, the new construction includes 55 beds, group and individual treatment rooms, gathering spaces, a dining area and various transition spaces. Jurors noted that the shape of the addition maximizes the view of the river on the property site.

"The way it fits into the neighborhood with the nearby housing was nicely done," said one juror.

In addition, the jurors found the floorplan layout to be a positive aspect. Patient flow and privacy were taken into consideration as well as the need to increase capacity for residential and outpatient services effectively.

One juror found the new structure integrated well with the Victorian mansion on the Hazelden property. Colored glass in the addition's windows near a main stairway and light fixtures with black-bar accents reflect the grand staircase and stained glass of the mansion but with a modern feel.


The Hoag Chemical Dependency Recovery Center in Newport Beach, Calif., earned an Honorable Mention Award from the jurors. The 8,700 square foot renovation was completed in July 2014 and features 21 beds.

Co-located with an acute care hospital, the integrated facility was redesigned to convert an existing inpatient unit into a residential treatment center. Patient flow and clinical function were considerations when updating the space.

"There was an odd shape to the building with the hexagon pods, but it was nicely resolved," said one juror in discussing the angles of the existing structure.

In addition, jurors found the common areas and bedrooms to have a homelike feel with pleasant lighting and comfortable furnishings. Natural light and a soft color palette provide a calming atmosphere and reflect the seaside setting of the local environment. Accessories including decorative pillows and plants add to the overall look.


Julie Miller is Editor in Chief of Behavioral Healthcare Executive.
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Title Annotation:DESIGN SHOWCASE
Author:Miller, Julie
Publication:Behavioral Healthcare
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2017
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