The Center: Architect seeks non-institutional feel for patients

Sierra Vista, Arizona – Design, comfort, technology and future growth all were taken into account when Frank Mascia of CDG Architects designed the new $6.5 million Ambulatory Surgery Center for Sierra Vista Regional Health Center. The 15,000 square-foot building is designed with simple lines and rich Southwest colors. No “institutional gray” in the Center, which was built on 77 acres about four miles west of town, next to the county’s Juvenile Detention Center. “It’s a very Southwest architecture…We were going after the essence of Southwest architecture,” Mascia said during an interview at the center’s grand opening on April 9. He pointed out many features of the building, including natural light throughout the building. Furnishings throughout the building are done in Southwest colors. The waiting area is large and bright, and includes an outdoor patio. Amenities include a television, free coffee and tea, restroom and pay phones, thus eliminating the need for families to leave the area. The Southwest colors are repeated in the curtains in the recovery area as well as in wall decorations throughout the building. Even the trim on the recovery room beds match the lavender of the clipboards found in each cubicle. "They are not big items, but they set it apart. It’s more human,” Mascia said. The design and color scheme of the building were finalized after input from the hospital’s staff, who thought the use of colors and windows would make the Center look “less institutional.” "There was a huge amount of staff involvement in this,” Mascia said. He said doctors and the hospital staff agreed colors would help patients. “You should walk back here and feel like you’re going to be taken care of.” Equipment for the operating rooms also was purchased after input from surgeons, hospital staff and the hospital’s chief executive officer, David Ressler. State-of-the art anesthesia machines, monitors, overhead lights and operating tables are in each operating room. The operating room lights allow surgeons versatility and eliminate shadows. The operating rooms also have phones, an emergency call system and an intercom system. Scrub sinks are situated to allow doctors to o monitor patients through a window while he or she is scrubbing. To start, three of the six operating rooms will be in use. As need increases, the remaining three rooms will be pressed into service. In the recovery area, each patient bed is beneath a window. The recovery area also has two isolation rooms for infectious patients. These rooms also have windows and are closed off from the rest of the recovery area by glass doors. "You have to keep in mind you’re dealing with patients.” Mascia said. He said placing a window at each bed will help surgery patients feel more connected to the world outdoors.

By Diane Saunders

Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review • Sunday, April 28, 2002
Principal Architect Frank Mascia FAIA, ACHA
Owner/Client Sierra Vista Regional Health Center
Contractor BFL Construction Company, Inc.
Date Completed July 2002
Size of Project 16,000 SF New Construction on 5.19 acres
Construction Cost $2,685,450
Cost/Square Foot $168
Photographs by Michael French and John Hutzler