Published: March 17, 2016
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – RTA Architects announced today the conclusion of the design and construction of the Denver Health Southwest Community Health Center and Urgent Care. Nearly 30 months after the planning of the clinic began, the 45,000-square-foot facility is nearing its opening.
When Denver Health determined the need to offer comprehensive health services to the diverse and economically challenging Southwest neighborhood, they chose RTA Architects for facility planning and design. Paul López, Denver City Councilman, District 3, comments, “The hard-working people living in this community are the ones who are building this city with their hands. These are the people for whom the American Dream just isn’t paying off. In fact, 2010 data showed that residents in our area were expected to prematurely die 8 years earlier, in comparison to other districts. So the need for medical service is overwhelming.” Pete Gutierrez, Associate COO, Denver Health Ambulatory Services, said, “Together with RTA, we are aiming for more than just a building. You have to spur the community to help them rise up. You have to give them hope by surrounding them with people who truly care about their well-being and provide facilities to support that. The Southwest Family Health Center will absolutely turn this community around.”
Collaborative Partnerships Key to Effective Design
RTA began the design process with an immersion phase and spent several days at an existing Denver Health community health center to document the current state of patient, staff, and procedure flows. Kevin Gould, AIA, RTA Principal-in-Charge, explains, “We went in with our eyes and ears wide open and really looked at Denver Health’s needs, desires, processes, and mission. The ultimate goal was to optimize flow and value for the patients and staff of the new Southwest Community Health Center and to create a space that will be embraced as a centerpiece of the community.”
Following the immersion phase, RTA and a multi-disciplinary Denver Health team held a 3P (Production, Preparation, Process) Event to rapidly create and test potential designs. According to Tina Quintana, Denver Health Clinic Administrator, “The 3P event was great. Each department had an opportunity to really spend time with the architects, and people walked away feeling like they had truly been heard.”
Denver Health’s intention to serve and empower community members is embodied throughout the entire building from expansive atriums and lobbies, to a large interactive children’s play zone. There is also a large multipurpose community conference room, which can be used for activities such as cooking classes and local meetings. Universal signage and intuitive wayfinding allow multilingual patients to easily make their way around the facility. Departments that need to be most accessible to the community – like urgent care, pharmacy, and dental services – are all located near the entrance of the building.
The facility features high-quality finishes and design elements. With warm wood, slate tiles, expansive skylights, and vaulted ceilings, the Southwest Community Health Center embodies Denver Health’s mission of “Level One Care for ALL” aesthetically as well as in its delivery of medical services. The Southwest Community Health Center offers 40 exam rooms and will be the first in the Denver Health system to provide on-site Urgent Care. The opening of the new clinic in April of 2016 coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first Denver Health community health center in the Five Points neighborhood.
Dr. Michael Russum, Medical Director of the Southwest Community Health Center and primary care physician, states, “I am incredibly excited for the opening of this clinic. It feels great to be there, and the space is absolutely joyful. It’s going to be an amazing new opportunity for Denver Health to serve the South Denver community.”
About Denver Health
Denver Health is the Rocky Mountain Region’s Level I academic trauma center, and the safety net hospital for the Denver area. The Denver Health system, which integrates acute and emergency care with public and community health, includes the Rocky Mountain Regional Trauma Center, Denver’s 911 emergency medical response system, Denver Health Paramedic Division, eight family health centers, 18 school-based health centers, the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, NurseLine, Denver CARES, Denver Public Health, the Denver Health Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Center for Medical Response to Terrorism, Mass Casualties and Epidemics. Denver Health’s website is located at www.denverhealth.org.
About RTA Architects
Since 1975, RTA Architects has created award-winning architectural and interior designs for the Colorado built environment. RTA specializes in healthcare, education, retail, and commercial properties, and delivers beautiful purposeful buildings through deep collaboration with owners and occupants to serve their unique needs. RTA’s website is located at www.rtaarchitects.com.