Gundersen Health System

Portfolio Categories: Healthcare, Interior Design, and LEED Design.

Project Overview

The 52,000 s.f., two-story building promotes staff efficiency by minimizing distance of necessary travel between frequently used spaces and allows easy visual supervision of patients by limited staff. Nurse stations are designed to provide maximum visibility of patient areas. The design also created a central meeting area or living room for staff and patients and provides smaller rooms where patients can visit with their families.

The facility uses familiar and non institutional materials with cheerful and varied colors and textures, keeping in mind that some colors and patterns are inappropriate and can disorient older impaired patients or agitate patients and staff. Natural light and a window for every patient bed, and views of the outdoors from other spaces are provided wherever possible. Adequate separation and sound insulation gives each patient as much acoustic privacy as possible. Each patient is given as much visual privacy as is consistent with the need for supervision and can control the immediate environment (lighting, radio, TV). Design features to assist patient orientation, such as direct and obvious travel paths, avoidance of glare and unusual configurations, and excessive corridor lengths, have been emphasized. Exercise equipment for patients, and access to kitchen facilities where snacks or meals can be prepared by patients, are offered.

Aesthetics is a major factor in the facility’s public image and is thus an important marketing tool for patients and staff. Aesthetic considerations include use of new lighting systems, high performance glazing, increased use of natural light, natural materials and colors, bright and open public and congregate spaces, comfortable and intimately scaled nursing units and offices, and compatibility of exterior design with surroundings.

The potential self harm of patients is a special concern of psychiatric facilities. Design to address this and other safety and security issues includes plumbing, electrical, and mechanical devices created to be tamper proof, control of entrances and exits by staff, provision for patient bedroom doors to be opened by staff in case of emergency, laminated glass for windows in inpatient units, fiber-reinforced gypsum board for walls and special features in seclusion rooms to eliminate all opportunities for self-injury, including outward opening doors with no inside hardware.


  • Cost: $15,000,000
  • New Area: 57,850 sf
  • Completed: December 2012

Site Development

  • 2 asphalt 226 stall parking lots; conc. curb, sidewalk, street entries
  • grading, landscaping, 2 specialty courtyards for patients, one with faux water feature

Structural System

  • CMU block bearing wall
  • poured conc. fdn.
  • 4” conc. floor
  • flat metal roof deck and steel bar joists
  • fireproofed steel beams


  • Adhered white rubber membrane
  • tapered insulation
  • plaster soffits

Exterior Walls

  • 2×6 metal stud framing
  • concrete brick face
  • split face rock
  • cavity wall system


  • Painted gyp board/metal studs
  • painted concrete block
  • vinyl finish

Floor Finishes

  • Carpet in lounges
  • tile and ceramic in bathrooms
  • sheet vinyl in patient rooms, staff work spaces, corridors
  • sealed concrete in mechanical rooms


  • Suspended 2×2 acoustical panel ceiling
  • painted gypsum wall board

Fixed Equipment

  • P-lam counter tops and casework in patient rooms, bathrooms, staff work spaces
  • composite counter tops in bathrooms and lounges
  • visual display boards and projection screens in staff work rooms


  • 2 hydraulic, 3-stop 4,000# passenger elevators with custom cab finishes


  • Conventional
  • fire sprinkler system
  • roof drains


  • Central modular boilers
  • VAV system
  • AHU
  • humidity control


  • Conventional
  • 2×2 fluorescents
  • fire alarm
  • fire/smoke detection
  • TV, telephone, public address, data
  • generator
  • security and nurse call systems

 Special Features

  • LEED Silver Certificate