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Craig Hospital is a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital specializing in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). This extensive expansion and renovation presented a complex puzzle for the architectural and construction team, and it demanded intricate collaboration among all of the stakeholders. In order to complete the project, the team faced a challenging problem: building a new facility on top of and inside of an operating brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation hospital, without disrupting patients or losing the space needed to take care of them.
RTA, in collaboration with SmithGroupJJR, worked with experts from all disciplines and sectioned the enormous project into 22 feasible components. In order to best know the needs and everyday environment of the staff, the architectural team began the year long planning process with a week of full immersion at the hospital. This means that they spent every day shadowing staff, asking questions, and experiencing the busy schedule of the hospital. By working in an integrated project approach with the general contractor, the team was able to co-locate to the Craig Hospital campus during the concept and pre-schematic design phases in order to create the design concept, project plan, and budget for the hospital.
One of the greatest milestones of the project was the closing of Clarkson Street. This massive task was accomplished through numerous meetings with city agencies, including traffic, engineering, zoning, planning, city council, and neighborhood groups. The team even met with the Mayor of the City of Englewood. The closure of Clarkson Street allowed for a new vehicular drive and drop-off zone, sensory healing garden, and a pedestrian zone. These things provide a safe and unified campus and connect the existing West and East buildings of the hospital.