Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Rogers Memorial Hospital

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Rogers Memorial Hospital

Article excerpt

For nearly 10 years, Rogers Memorial Hospital has offered child and adolescent day treatment in the Brown Deer, Wis. community, but at its former capacity, the facility was unable to meet growing needs in the underserved area. This need- combined with an opportunity to acquire additional space where Rogers' outpatient treatment programs already existed-sparked a two-year project that resulted in a newly renovated, 56bed inpatient facility.

With its grand opening in April, the hospital now provides inpatient care and stabilization for children and adolescents as well as adults dealing with anxiety, depression, addiction and dual diagnoses. Along with the Rogers' intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization facility that was moved to its new home across the street, the two 55,000-square-foot buildings collectively make up the third comprehensive behavioral health campus in the Rogers Behavioral Health System.

One of the early design challenges, according to John Curran, ALA, principle in charge, TWP Architecture, was to make the acquired space, which was formerly a psychiatric hospital, more inviting.

"It had a very ominous look with black-tinted, punched windows set into masonry wall-not very welcoming," he says, adding that it had almost a prisonlike quality.

The facility required some muchneeded upgrades to comply with current codes and standards as well as aesthetic renovations that would align it with design standards set at other Rogers locations. The design team focused primarily on the buildings interior spaces, with a heavy emphasis on creating a new lobby space that would be warm, welcoming and give a good first impression.

"We addressed this by enclosing a large portion of the structure's exterior canopy at the entry point," Curran says. "Substantial openings that we glassed to create skylights provide a continuous stream of natural light to the newly developed lobby."

Several other design elements were purposely concentrated up front to make the lobby as hospitable as possible, including warm lighting and a fireplace. But most striking is the 30 foot by 12 foot, vertical live wall that features hundreds of plants and a builtin irrigation system.

"It's like being outdoors," says Roger Luhn, MD, medical director for Rogers Brown Deer. "The welcoming, organic, non-institutional entryway and concept that carries throughout the facility is really integral to our mission."

Natural lighting, natural elements

Wanting to bring as much natural light and natural elements into the facility as possible, the design team used Rogers' main hospital in Oconomowoc and its lake- and tree-filled campus for inspiration.

"We really wanted to bring some of those elements into this building that had none of that," says Abbie Sivwright, architect, TWP.

The building's standard, institutionalsized windows were replaced by large, full-wall windows that allow patient, public and treatment spaces all to be light-filled and for the outdoors to be visually accessible.

"That accessibility makes a huge difference. It's conducive to good treatment and progression toward wellness, and it's what people expect more and more from a mental health environment," says Luhn. "We know that daylight and mental health can go together; there's a reason why, traditionally, people who have depression talk about their illness in terms if dark and light." Other prominent design elements throughout the facility include natural wood-most notably in floor-to-ceiling day room and living room spaces-and cool, calming colors. …

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