Because vertical expansion had been considered a possibility in the hospital’s original plan, the facility was engineered to accommodate additional floors. BSA assessed alternatives to vertical expansion in its master planning process, but land limitations restricted other options, so “up” did indeed prove to be the way to go.
Another challenge was confronted with the desire to expand support services. Because the building is designed as two wings with a “knuckle” in the center, a logical space for expansion would be that knuckle. However, the team discovered that this reasonable solution was blocked by a fire-rated wall that could not be moved without millions of dollars in additional costs. To allow for the vertical expansion, BSA relocated some rooftop mechanical equipment and essentially designed around other equipment, leaving it in place and creating a flex floor with offices to create a buffer between the mechanicals and surgical spaces.
BSA planned for finishing out two existing shell spaces as surgical suites, and for adding a total of 41 patients in a uniquely flexible configuration. Six underutilized pediatric beds will be converted to a six-bed, 23-hour observation unit to be staffed and run by the emergency department. The licensed beds can flex to inpatient beds as needed, adding to the hospital’s overall inpatient capacity.
The team also leveraged a unique factor at IU Health West: When the hospital was built, instead of having a dedicated ICU, all of its rooms were designed to be acuity-adaptable. With the vertical expansion, the hospital will now have a permanent ICU. Still, all of its beds will retain the capacity to convert to ICU beds if needed, giving the hospital both additional beds and virtually unlimited space for ICU patients.