In June 2013, Victory Healthcare broke ground on its 105,000-square-foot, LEED Gold medical facility and offices in Fort Worth, Texas. Intended to create a world-class healthcare facility and spur the revitalization of the city’s South Main neighborhood, the project looks to heal not only residents, but also the community itself.
By bringing in more than 200 employees, the company has created a need for key services and amenities close to the site. When the project was announced, numerous developers latched on to the vision of a new South Main and have announced mixed-use buildings so that the community can become a place where people can live, eat, work, and play. Nonprofit organizations such as Fort Worth South aided the effort by providing historical resources and a vision for the area, informed by people with a vested interest.
With notoriously hot summers, temperature and humidity control are crucial for any building in Texas, so the Victory team paid special attention to high-efficiency glazing. Curtis Group Architects, the project’s core-and-shell architect, performed extensive modeling and calculations to determine the best exterior materials and the building’s solar orientation. As a hospital, ensuring the building has a tight envelope and efficient mechanical and HVAC systems was critical to its future performance. The building’s largest energy saver is its rooftop HVAC unit that will use energy from exhaust air to pretreat outside air.
The Forth Worth location will be Victory’s largest to date and includes eight operating rooms, 24 patient rooms, seven dedicated ICU rooms, an on-site imaging center, and a restaurant-quality cafeteria. “Patients are guests,” says Kirsten Cavaness, Victory’s director of construction. “We are not like a typical hospital. [We] offer the comforts and hospitality of a hotel and a level of care that is second-to-none. The ability to provide that care starts with the design and construction of our facility.” This includes VIP patient rooms, which will have enhanced LED lighting and spa-like bathrooms; those along Pennsylvania Avenue will have balconies. Large windows provide views of fountains and landscaping full of native plants.
The project site lent itself to a linear design, making it difficult to give all rooms—even operating rooms—windows. Yet windows were important for both patient rooms, to deliver on Victory’s promise to create hotel-like spaces, and operating rooms, where windows can reduce the need for energy-intensive smoke-evacuation systems. Just adding windows obviated the need for an additional ventilation system.
In an effort to honor the area’s history in an environmentally sensitive way, the team used locally sourced materials that echo the look of the area’s early 20th century architecture. Victory CEO Bob Helms drove up and down the streets of Fort Worth to help shape his vision for the new facility, and he was heavily influenced by the historic Sundance Square and surrounding architecture. In the end, Helms and company chose to base the design of the building’s main tower on that of the historic St. Joseph Hospital.
Furthering its commitment to the community, the medical center’s art gallery will display the work of Fort Worth artisans. Creating a space for local artists to showcase their work was important to Victory, who had done a similar project—albeit on a smaller scale—in the lobby of its Beaumont location. Being neighborhood-friendly also translated to finding quieter, less intrusive generators and reducing the facility’s overall carbon footprint. “Being a green builder,” Cavaness says, “and a good neighbor are interrelated.”