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St. Francis Medical Center NICU

Colorado Springs, Colorado


Connecting through experience of place.

The expanded Level III NICU at St. Francis Medical Center is the first phase of construction for the four-story expansion to serve the growing population on the city’s north side. The NICU opened in August 2018, and the remainder of the expansion is scheduled for completion in early 2019.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

Level III NICUs provide the highest level of care for premature or critically ill babies with a clinical team comprised of a wide variety of highly specialized staff.  After years of research and collaboration with Penrose-St. Francis, the design team crafted the NICU in the Family Integrated Care Model which encourages greater parent involvement in premature infant’s care. Traditionally, infants are separated from their parents, but studies show that this often has a negative impact on the well-being of both the parents and the infants. With this new model, parents are encouraged to be essential members of the healthcare team.


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

Biomimicry and local artwork are featured throughout the space. Skylights provide daylighting in the Wellness Garden and Reception area.

In each private patient room, advanced room lighting supports and stimulates babies’ circadian rhythms to promote growth and accelerate babies’ release to go home. Increased space was designed to care for multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) in the same room, easing family visits.

A NICU family lounge and Wellness Garden were created to provide respite and to allow families to connect with and support each other. The garden leads to a Sky Lobby, an outdoor patio with mountain views for staff and families. Both the Wellness Garden and the Sky Lobby provide additional spaces for families to connect.

 A family pre-discharge room closely models the experience of home and provides a place for nursing staff to support parents preparing to transition out of the hospital.

Project Details

  • Square footage: 
    • Expansion: 30,668 sf
    • Renovation: 12,000 sf
  • Project cost: $70.5M

Design Details

  • Daylighting
  • Biomimicry and local artwork
  • Couplet Care Rooms
  • Outdoor patio space
  • Wellness Garden
  • Family Lounge