By Ben Taylor, LEED AP, Architect
Redefining Healthcare Spaces with Adaptive Reuse
Looking to expand your healthcare footprint while not going to the expense of building new? Adaptive Reuse can offer some distinct advantages to traditional healthcare footprints. From transforming vacant big box stores into medical office buildings to converting fast food restaurants into dialysis clinics, Clark/Kjos has reimagined a wide range of building types into fresh new settings for our clients.
Research The Space
Before committing to a space, it is important to understand the available infrastructure to support your operations. It starts with identifying proper site zoning, utility capacity, and existing conditions. A thorough investigation helps a buyer to minimize unforeseen conditions or avoid unsuitable properties during the design phase. Is there adequate, accessible parking for the patient volumes you expect? Does the building structure provide flexibility? Many of these conditions can often be confirmed through site inspections or with a Letter of Intent to the building owner during lease negotiations. It is a wise investment to consult with real estate, design and construction professionals for help evaluating potential buildings prior to committing to a lease or purchase.
Willamette Family Medical Center looked to CKA’s big-box conversion expertise to repurpose a former Circuit City for their new medical clinic. To minimize structural modification costs, the design team evaluated the existing exterior walls’ capacity for strategic openings to introduce light deep into the footprint.
Save Cost, Time, and the Environment
Adaptive Reuse projects can be more cost effective than building new, with building elements and infrastructure already in-place. Utilizing pre-existing structures can also minimize construction mobilization, overall construction duration, lead times, and labor costs.
Repurposing older buildings is also popular for its environmental benefits. Building reuse can be more environmentally friendly by using fewer virgin materials – environmental ratings systems (such as LEED) emphasize building reuse to address embodied carbon emissions.
While reimagining an empty K-Mart for Wellspring Medical Center, the design team reused 100% of the existing shell and recycled 90% of the demolition waste embodying a sense of rejuvenation which complements the services offered within.
Convenient Patient Destinations
Existing buildings often come with the benefit of surrounding amenities, such as neighborhoods, retail, and proximity to transit. Locating your facility in a mixed-used development can be attractive to patients as it can part of a “one stop shopping” destination. Rather than making a trip to the hospital campus, health can be brought directly to the communities where your patients live and work.
Looking to expand its services into along the Oregon Coast, Samaritan Health flipped the script on one of the leading factors impacting modern patient health by renovating former a fast-food restaurant into a dialysis clinic – taking advantage of its convenient location along a major thoroughfare and providing much needed services to the community.
Enhancements for Distinction
While reimagining your new space, consider the patient experience – especially if it was a formerly different use. This can be achieved through exterior façade improvements, landscaping, and interior wayfinding enhancements. On the interior, consider whether suspended ceilings can be removed or replaced at greater heights in public spaces, or if additional windows or skylights could help bring light into the building. Upgrades such as these can help distinguish your new space from its former use and increase attractiveness for patients, creating unexpected delights.
By taking advantage of the large structural bays while designing the Wellspring Medical Center, Clark Kjos was able to bring nature indoors, with four-season healing gardens, creating a soothing patient experience.
If you’re in the market for a new space and are looking to take advantage of the current real estate market, Clark Kjos is here to help you investigate your options.