With the rise of simulation in healthcare education and technology, the Reading Hospital and Medical Center required a space to simulate the entire hospital experience for its multiple healthcare disciplines. The nursing program is the largest of five main programs in the new facility that will accommodate nearly 400 students. Other disciplines include radiation technology, surgical technology, EMS training and clinical pastoral care.
The Reading Hospital and Medical Center School of Health Sciences’s new home is a three-story, 62,000 square foot building on a site adjacent to the main hospital campus. The building includes a 300-seat auditorium, classrooms, skills and science laboratories, a tiered seminar classroom, computer facilities, and faculty and administrative offices. There are also several informal gathering/study spaces throughout the building. The faculty lounge is adjacent to the main office suites and has access to a roof terrace and outdoor seating.
A hospitality scale has been applied to the public spaces on the ground and first floors, appropriate for the entrance of this important building serving the community’s educational needs. The other spaces are more closely detailed to the standards of university classrooms. There is a substantial audio/visual component to this project associated with all the teaching labs, auditorium, and the larger presentation spaces. This allows for content to be captured and shared through a variety of educational settings.
The IKM design team drew upon its deep knowledge-base of healthcare planning and design to create a teaching environment that is a true simulation of the clinical setting the students will be working in. Nursing units, patient rooms, and imaging suites are all designed within the same parameters found in an actual hospital setting. The technology allows hands-on, clinical simulations that can be transmitted to nearby classrooms for real-time critiques by faculty and students.
The facility has a strong architectural connection to the building traditions established on the main campus of The Reading Hospital & Medical Center. The design is tied to the Georgian character of the Hospital campus and draws on similar material selections for the building exterior. Brick and pre-cast blend with metal detailing to produce a suitable companion project. The new building extends the Hospital’s brand and the design aesthetic into the surrounding community.
Site development started with the removal of an existing elementary school building and supporting structures and included the construction of new internal site circulation, parking, and hard-scape elements. These site modifications provide convenient access to the new building and associated entrance plaza and allow the building to occupy the dominant corner of the site.