"The group at RTA brings to the table not only creative and innovative design, but also the wonderful ability to bring together a functional team…”
David Howard, former Facility Director, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
The 465,000 sq. ft. St. Francis Medical Center, designed by RTA Architects in conjunction with Earl Swanson Architects, culminates years of planning, decision-making, and collaboration among owners, architects, consultants, medical professionals, and contractors. The ever-growing population of northeast Colorado Springs and El Paso County needed closer, convenient, and comprehensive services. The forty-two acre site was selected for its visibility, convenience, and proximity to the communities it serves. The large campus enables Penrose-St. Francis Health Services to offer Critical Care, a state-of-the-art Birth Center, NICU, Cath Lab, inpatient surgery, emergency department, and radiology, among others.
Driven by evidence-based design, the separation of the front-of-the-house from the back-of-the-house was paramount in the design of the St. Francis Medical Center with careful attention to the equality in the quality of the two separate spaces. The team at RTA also knows that connecting patients to the natural environment impacts healing and well-being, so the prairie environment was continued inside through colors and finishes to provide a calming, peaceful, and comforting atmosphere to patients and families experiencing life-changing events.
As part of RTA's research, the following Evidence-Based Design (EBD) principles were utilized: private rooms with full bathrooms, patient-controlled lighting, television, and bed adjustments, as well as external nurse observation areas to minimize disruptions. RTA also created decentralized nursing alcoves in order to allow for quick access to patients in emergencies and foster better communication among the staff. RTA also chose soothing colors to provide a home-like setting for healing patients. In addition a prairie river and several reflecting pools at the associate entrance were added physical features that remind St. Francis visitors and staff that they are moving into a healing environment.
After the success of the original design of the St. Francis Medical Center, RTA was asked to design an additional $102 million expansion. This expansion increased the number of beds and workflow in the Emergency Department and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as provided additional new operating rooms.