Tucson, Arizona
El Pueblo Clinic certified LEED(tm) Gold

El Rio Community Health Center, Inc. (El Rio) continues its commitment to “green” building with tthis new state of the art, co-friendly medical facility and the second LEED(tm)-certified facility under El Rio's umbrella of 17 medical sites. The new clinic replaces a smaller clinic nearby, with patient visits expected to grow from 13,000 to over 40,000 annually. The new building design flows from El Rio’s expanded definition of “community wellness” to include sustainable and environmentally responsible clinic facilities and work environments. to promote the health of staff and clients, consume fewer local resources such as electric power and potable water, and utilizie local and recycled building materials.

El Rio received Federal stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a second Federal grant toward medical equipment for the new facility and private donations toward a new x-ray machine. With the help of a local Council member, the El Rio Foundation is able to lease the clinic land from the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center for $1 for 99 years. The Design and build team includes CDG Architects, Swaim Associates and BFL Construction.

The building is oriented, designed and fenestrated to minimize solar heat gain to the interior while providing ample natural light.  Solar tubes and clerestory windows provide daylighting in the corridors and the lobby respectively.  Low-flow plumbing fixtures and metered faucets minimize potable water use at the interior, while reclaimed water is used for landscape irrigation at the exterior. Indoor environmental quality is enhanced by increased outdoor air delivery, use of low contaminant-emitting finish materials.  The electrical and lighting systems are designed to minimize power usage and the mechanical systems selected for the building are CFC-free and will meet LEED optimal energy performance criteria.

Construction of the building was also approached in a manner sensitive to the environment.  An Indoor Air Quality management plan was implemented by the Contractor to control pollutant sources, protect the HVAC ducts during construction, and to ventilate areas where workmen might be exposed to airborne irritants.  Waste management procedures ensured that nearly 95% of all waste materials were diverted from disposal in land fills.  Light pollution was mitigated from neighboring lots and stormwater was managed on-site so as not to create drainage onto neighboring properties.

El Rio is as committed to the health and comfort of its staff as it is the well-being of its clients.  High quality finish materials, furnishings and artwork contribute to the sense that El Rio cares deeply about the community it serves. Natural lighting is introduced to exam rooms where possible and also to the Staff Lounge, Shower Room and offices.  Colorful walls, floors and furniture have a positive effect not only on clients who are not feeling well, but also on the staff who move throughout the spacious facility on a daily basis. 

Principal Architect Frank Mascia, FAIA, ACHA
Contractor BFL Construction Company, Inc.
Date Completed August 2009
Size of Project 27,000 SF New Construction
Construction Cost $4,646,785
Cost/Square Foot $172
Photos by Paul Wojtczak Cindy Hogan