The new Woodstock General Hospital (WGH) is on its way to becoming one of Canada’s first LEED-accredited hospitals, according to Parkin Architects Limited, the design firm for the 354,000-square-foot healthcare facility. The three-storey project broke ground in 2008, and as of May it is 95 percent complete and well on its way to occupancy-approval and LEED certification. The replacement facility comes in response to Woodstock, Ontario’s growing population. Over the next decade, the hospital expects annual visits to increase from 29,000 to 40,000; outpatient therapy service visits to increase by 10,000 visits; and diagnostic imaging to increase from 49,000 to 70,000 exams – numbers the current WGH cannot handle.
“The town of Woodstock required a new hospital to replace an outdated facility that could not accommodate growing community healthcare needs or current technology,” Principal David Driscoll says. “In addition to traditional hospital inpatient services, the proposed new 178-bed greenfield community hospital will also become an important regional center for many outpatient programs and health and wellness resources.”
Though the new hospital expands capacity and services, the new design could by no means become a free-for-all. Driscoll explains that the plans had to be consistent with the hospital’s desire for a floor plan appropriate for a tight operation. With efficiency in design and sustainability at its core, Parkin designed a continuous corridor system to be fit out with green technology.
“We proposed a number of innovations that would capitalize on the proposed site’s slope as well as maximize traffic flow within and around the facility while keeping the project confined to a strictly managed budget,” Driscoll explains. “The new hospital gave us the opportunity to achieve an economic and sustainable design without comprising either efficiency or quality of the patient environment.”
The hospital has a continuous corridor on each floor encircling a central outdoor courtyard that serves several purposes. Three inpatient pods branch off from the central ring corridor and decentralized care stations for each unit are located near patient rooms to minimize staff walking distances and improve access for patients. Also, large windows on each floor face the courtyard, serving as visual markers for visitors to gather their bearings. Another note of efficiency is the separation of patient and diagnostic treatment services, which allows for larger span areas between columns in the diagnostic area to accommodate equipment and operating room needs. Driscoll says the patient areas were able to be “built using shorter spans at less cost.”
The patient layout also accommodates future expansion. Once complete, the new WGH will house:
Green features for the future LEED-Silver facility include heat recovery ventilators, demand control ventilation, high-efficiency modulating boilers and chillers, premium-efficiency variable speed pumps and lighting with occupancy sensors. WGH will be landscaped using Eco-Lawn, a deep root grass system with drought-tolerant properties that does not require mowing, as well as a field of wild flowers.
In November 2010, the hospital hit a lesser-known milestone among the general public. Groundbreaking and topping-off ceremonies are highly recognized, but the hospital also took the time to announce the commissioning of all the new mechanical systems. The hospital wanted to notify the public that the new WGH is becoming a fully working building that will allow it to expand programs, recruit new staff and improve the quality of its healthcare system while reducing wait times.
Parkin Architects Limited, with the hospital’s build/finance/maintain consortium – Integrated Team Solutions – has helped the hospital achieve this. The build/finance/maintenance team consists of contractor EllisDon and mechanical and electrical subcontractor Comstock. Honeywell is the building operator.
“This construction milestone is the start of the commissioning process which will ensure that the heating and ventilation system are operating properly and efficiently,” WGH Director of Capital Projects Blake Hughes states.
“Commissioning brings us another step closer to substantial completion,” explains Natasa Veljovic, WGH president and CEO.