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Johnson Memorial Health Opens New Expansion

In August of 2020, Johnson Memorial Health formally opened the doors to its new emergency and outpatient services facility in Franklin, Indiana.

While August ushered in the formal opening of the new space, the new facility had actually been in use for several months already. Unexpectedly, as with many other things during the time of COVID-19, the space was transformed into something that the Johnson Memorial Health executives, staff, and design team did not anticipate.

Adapting to Unforeseen Circumstances
In Spring 2020, Johnson Memorial Health’s new emergency department was transformed into a space to treat COVID-19 cases. Fortunately, the emergency department was designed in a way to separate the department from the rest of the hospital and thus was used to treat the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the county.

Because of the design of the new space, Johnson Memorial Health was able to help many more patients than they would have been able to before the existing space was redeveloped. The space made it possible for those COVID-19 patients to be kept isolated from the rest of the hospital while they were still contagious and recovering.

Anita Keller, Chief Nursing Officer for Johnson Memorial Health, said she had certain plans for the isolation rooms in the emergency department even before COVID-19 hit.

“Cripe said we can take you one step higher, and they did,” Keller said. “In this pandemic, the design solution was a miracle…our patients, our staff, and I have Cripe to thank for that.”

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Since last spring, the COVID-19 unit moved to the second-floor intensive care unit in the old hospital building, and the ICU has moved to the third floor of the medical tower.

Cripe representatives said they are extremely proud to have played a part in the development and design of the healthcare facility. As the architect for the project, Cripe also provided land surveying and civil engineering services, utilizing all three of their major service offerings to complete the transformative project in Johnson County.

"Having a one- stop shop is definitely advantageous,” said Dr. David Dukle, MD, President and CEO of Johnson Memorial Health.

Sam Miller, AIA, Senior Project Manager in Cripe’s Architecture department believes that having three services offered from one firm sets Cripe apart when it comes to the healthcare market.

“As we think about the future of health and wellness and our place in the market, we are uniquely positioned with our service lines,” Miller said. “Those are architecture, civil engineering, and survey. We offer all of those, and more, in conjunction to our clients.”

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“We’re a growing, employee-owned firm that’s large enough to handle complex projects, but small enough to really understand our clients’ needs and deliver complex design solutions,” said Frank Hindes, AIA, ACHA, CEM, LEED AP, Director of Architecture for Cripe.

Because of the size of the firm, Cripe employees became very familiar with the project needs at Johnson Memorial Health, which helped provide exactly what the client was hoping for.

Emergency-Outpatient, Imaging Suite, and Atrium Additions
The Johnson Memorial Hospital Emergency-Outpatient addition is approximately 86,500 square feet of which 70,000 square feet is clinical space. The building is two stories with three departments on the main level and support services on the second floor. The emergency department on the south is centered around a nurses station looking out to 21 single bed treatment rooms arranged around the space.

Three trauma rooms are adjacent to the ambulance entrance and, at the western side of the suite, a dedicated isolation area of two rooms are always negatively pressurized.

The imaging suite in the central area provides MRI, CAT Scan, X-ray, ultrasound and mammography along with offices, meeting, and staff support areas. The northern portion of the first floor is dedicated to laboratory services and includes a blood bank, microbiology, histology, cytology, and administrative space.

The existing hospital campus buildings are laid out east to west like beads on a string served by a Main Street, which connects the campus from the western medical office building to the existing patient tower and surgery center on the east.

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The EDOP design extends Main Street and creates a two-story atrium running along the addition’s northern and eastern edges allowing visitors and patients access to the entire campus indoors.

The atrium provides ready access to registration and waiting spaces for each service. Main entry rotundas are provided to the emergency department on the southeast and outpatient services on the northeast. Passing through the main entry rotunda a visitor entering the atrium first sees a welcome desk to engage visitors upon arrival.

A second floor with a passage overlooking the atrium provides support spaces for cardio rehabilitation, nutrition counseling, wellness, and shell space. Cripe architects designed the building so that it can expand in the future up to two additional stories above the clinical spaces.

Designing Around the Client’s Needs
Taking inspiration from the hospital’s commitment to excellent visitor and patient experiences, the architecture allows an understanding of the building within a few minutes of arrival. Where to enter is immediately understood with easy, fluid movement along Main Street to the new patient service centers or the main hospital.

Once within the spaces, occupants enjoy a clear process of orientation and check-in. The light in the atrium changes constantly throughout the day and there are places to stop and converse, to rest, to meet, see and be seen – creating a comforting and friendly environment for patients, visitors, and staff.

Cripe wanted to provide a space that felt welcoming to patients and visitors. So often, healthcare facilities can feel intimidating and sterile. All of the natural light and open spaces in the Johnson Memorial Health addition prevent those feelings from creeping in at the hospital.

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“Healthcare design for Cripe is an integration of the technical requirements, the jurisdictional and code requirements, and then the specific human requirements of the clients and the patients,” said Hindes.

While the premature opening of the new Johnson Memorial Health facility was anything but expected, the space is providing physicians, staff, patients, and visitors with a fresh and unique space in which to work and receive treatment.

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