Bright colors, lots of natural light, whimsical paintings, a touch of nature and interactive electronics all play a part in the new Bob and Penni Nance Pediatric Unit that was unveiled Saturday at Billings Clinic. A large crowd was on hand for the open house and ribbon-cutting on the second-floor of the east wing. Visitors enjoyed a tour of the seven large private rooms, including one dedicated to patients with cystic fibrosis. The 8,800-square-foot unit is the last in a series of projects throughout the clinic’s downtown campus, totaling $9.3 million. The pediatric space was designed by CTA Architects Engineers, with Jones Construction as the general contractor.
A huge photograph of a bright-green caterpillar on the outside wall of the pediatric unit was a tip-off that the new pediatric unit incorporates both nature and vivid colors. Visitors who stepped into the unit heard the sound-effect of chirping birds above. Just inside, a 90-inch TV screen broadcast a movie, but the screen also is connected to an X-box gaming system that will allow patients and siblings play interactive games. The rooms have enough space for the patients and their families. They all incorporate natural light and spot color, flat-screen TVs and couches that unfold into beds.
Dr. Michelle Pierson, chairwoman of the Pediatrics Department, said that designing and building the unit was a labor of love “rooted in the concepts of evidence-based design. We traveled around the country, looked at inpatient units to see what was working and wasn’t working, and incorporated the best practices that we saw in the design of this unit,” she said. All who were involved in the planning process kept in mind what they would want if their own kids were in the pediatric unit. “That was our litmus test for making sure we’re doing the right thing,” she said.
Families were included in the design process, keeping in mind they might be in the unit overnight or for weeks, said Dr. Courtney Stout Patterson, medical director for In-Patient Pediatrics. “We focused on building a very family-focused space where there’s room for family, there’s plenty of room for kids to play, there’s food and even a place to wash clothes,” she said, as visitors looked around.
PROJECT ARCHITECT AMY LINDGREN:
“This new inpatient pediatrics unit is a brand new service line for Billings Clinic. This project has been a long time in the works with various avenues of evidence-based design research including visiting multiple sites around the country as well as focus group research with patients and their parents. The main design concepts focused on positive distractions including interactive display areas, large scale art, and bright colors.”