MetroHealth Announces Plan to Build New Acute Care Hospital

By Roxanne Squires

CLEVELAND – The MetroHealth system has announced plans to create a new 11-story Acute Care Hospital on its 52-acre Cleveland campus along with national multidisciplinary design firm HGA.

The hospital is a part of MetroHealth’s forward-thinking response to confront the rapid changes in improving patient care, streamlining staff efficiencies and enhancing community partnerships. Beginning construction this year, the hospital will include private patient rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows as well as accommodations for overnight family visits and the flexibility to incorporate ICU capabilities.

The facility’s master plan also uncovers a “hospital in a park,” in which 25 acres of the previous surface parking will be changed into a park-like space for patients, visitors and staff to be able to receive the natural benefits of nature.

“The hospital becomes a backdrop for the landscape and a showcase of the community activities within. Every occupied space within the facility is given access to natural daylight,” said HGA Project Designer, Bryce Hubertz, AIA LEED AP. “Corridors terminate at floor-to-ceiling windows providing orientation and views to the site including long views of downtown Cleveland.”

The hospital incorporates the characteristics and distinctions of a park  –  including textures, shadows, social opportunities – which have been abstracted to form moments within the facility that are welcoming, memorable and affirming.

Hubertz explained how the facades at the patient tower reflect the always changing patterns of the sky with extruded terracotta facades, mimicking the rippling waves of Lake Erie and nearby Cuyahoga River.

“Wooden walls and detailing flow from interior spaces outward, blurring the line between indoor and out, said Hubertz. “The guiding ambition is to connect the patient directly to the benefits of the proximity of the natural environment. The overall composition is a balance of sophistication and informality, using material to evoke the familiar, with an emphasis on grounding the structure within its context and community.”

HGA medical planner, Mara Sabatini, NCIDQ, IIDA stated that the new hospital will also feature robotics to deploy supplies, medication and food to the rooms creating greater efficiency for the staff as well as better patient care.

“Along with the robotics, we have a pneumatic tubes system across all departments for waste and linens and other material transport,” said Sabatini. “HGA is working closely with our design partners Guide Studio to integrate pieces of technology-based wayfinding into the new addition as well.”

The design process of the hospital includes MetroHealth’s in-house Lean team which continues to research new operational processes and delivery methods to respond to patients’ various needs.

With HGA, the team developed a research-focused I-Team to find and address the best practices to achieve the health system’s promise to design a cost-effective, sustainable and patient-focused hospital.

Through concentrated predesign workshops, the team observed innovations in the best utilization of space in order to quickly adapt rooms to new delivery methods and processes, creating a highly flexible, neutral platform.

The outcome of this was a Process Neutral Design which emphasizes design that uses assembled rather than constructed parts, including modular and open plans, prefabricated components, demountable systems and transferable walls to establish its neutral and flexible platform for quickly responding to patient needs.

The hospital is scheduled for completion in 2022.