Article by Alicia Hoisington, Healthcare Design Magazine. See original article here: Community Service: Thibodaux Regional Medical Center Focuses On Wellness

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s new wellness center in Thibodaux, La., was built with the goal of making its community healthier. The rural area of about 15,000 people ranks as the most obese in the nation, according to America’s Health Rankings 2016 annual report. Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional, says there were things the organization was already doing to improve and transform clinical care, “but wellness was missing from it,” he says. As he saw the growing effects of people not taking care of themselves, Stock presented to the hospital board the idea of a wellness center. “If we could integrate wellness and bring the doctors into it and other aspects of the care provided, we could make a difference,” he says.

The wellness center, which opened in October 2016, was designed to create a clinical pathway that integrated wellness, where patients would view their health and wellness as a collective entity. Three main components comprise the five-story building: a central mall that runs down the center and serves as the main circulation corridor; a wellness area to one side of the mall that includes a fitness and recreation center with three swimming pools, lockers, studios, an indoor walking and running track, and volleyball and basketball courts; and a medical center on the other side with an imaging center and rehabilitation department.

At the main entry, the education center and cafe support the wellness center’s themes of health education and community interaction. Ted Miles

Designers at WHLC Architecture (Baton Rouge, La.) were tasked with creating an integrated yet flexible layout for the 225,505-square-foot facility. “It was important that clinics can increase and decrease in size and expand into adjacent spaces as time goes on and more demand is placed on them,” says Rick Lipscomb, principal at WHLC Architecture. To achieve the goal of integration, the wellness center is designed for ease of use. The first floor is home to an imaging center, orthopedic clinic, rehabilitation department, and sports medicine clinic. Rear elevators connect clinicians and patients to all the clinics on the four floors above, including neurosciences, pain, spine, and weight management.

The fitness center located off one side of the central mall offers easy circulation from the workout areas to the basketball court and aquatics area. Patients’ workouts are integrated with their medical records, such as when a patient uses a treadmill, so that the doctor can see it. “That’s the whole idea,” Lipscomb says. “It’s not just a place to work out, but actually get healthier.”

The central mall serves as a gathering space and public connector to featured areas such as the fitness center and imagining center. Ted Miles

Education is another central goal of the wellness center, with a 10,000-square-foot education center with classrooms and an auditorium located behind the reception desk, while on the fifth floor, conference rooms host continuing education programs for doctors and specialists. Three 20-foot long floor-to-ceiling monitors greet visitors in the lobby, showing two- to three-minute video vignettes of people from the community sharing their health stories. Visitors also can use the touch screens to access additional educational resources. “What I wanted to do in that sense was immediately grab you with stories,” Stock says. “The videos get a lot of word-of-mouth in the community.”

The LEED-certified building was developed on a greenfield site owned by the hospital and cost $73 million to develop, with an additional $8 million invested in new imaging equipment. Located across the campus from the medical center, the wellness center is designed not to blend in with the design of the hospital. “We wanted to make a statement with this building, and show it’s unusual,” Stock says. The building’s overall size and architecture, which is inspired by its location in South Louisiana and Catholic cathedrals that allow abundant natural light to enter from all angles, help it stand out on campus.

The cafe, adjacent to the main entrance and the Learning and Resource Center, is used to teach healthy eating habits.

One of the biggest challenges on the project was addressing the site’s poor soil conditions, which presented the danger of flooding, Lipscomb says. The solution involved elevating the entire building 3 ½ feet above grade, even in the aquatics area, with the floor built on a structural slab with crawl spaces under the building. “There’s quite a heavy-duty foundation throughout the building, and the timber piles under the building are substantial,” Lipscomb says.

While the wellness center has been up and running for more than a year now, Thibodaux Regional already has plans for further expansion. Phase Two, expected to be completed in late summer 2018, will be constructed behind the wellness center on 17 acres of land with 12 tennis courts, four sand volleyball courts, a football field, an eight-track lane, pavilion, concession area, play area, and water spray area for children.

More than 5,000 people in the area have utilized the facility since opening. Additionally, Stock says the campus’ focus on wellness is helping change the perception of the acute care process by addressing the whole spectrum of a person’s life and influencing it in a positive way. “It changes the perception and makes the community a better place to live,” he says.

Alicia Hoisington is a freelance B2B writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She can be reached at

Project Summary:

Completion date: October 26th, 2016

Owner: Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

Total building area: 225,505 square feet

Total construction cost: $62 million

Cost/sq. ft.: $277/sq. ft.

Architecture: WHLC Architecture, LLC

Interior design: WHLC Architecture, LLC

Contracting: Johnson Construction

Engineering: Smith Seckman Reid, Inc.; SSRCx, LLC; Badeaux Engineers, Inc.; T. Baker Smith, LLC; OLC Aquatics; Reich Associates; Vision Quest; Edward Don & Company.

Construction: Johnson Construction

Art/pictures: WHLC Architecture, LLC

AV equipment/electronics/software: Vision Quest

Carpet/flooring: Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo Inc., Mannington Commercial, Interface, Bigelow, Parterre, Florida Tile, American Olean, Caesar, Daltile, Azrock, Johnsonite, Mondo, Crossville, Bauer Sports Flooring

Ceiling/wall systems: Armstrong, 9-Wood, Forms+Surfaces, Ceilings Plus, Alpro Acoustical Systems

Doors/locks/hardware: Himmel’s Architectural Door & Hardware, LLC, Marshfield, Assa Abloy

Fabric/textiles: Arc-Com, Architex, Brentano, DesignTex, Stinson, Ultraleather, Maharam, Momentum

Furniture—seating/casegoods: Hon, Nemschoff, Davis, Herman Miller, Coalesse, KI, Falcon, Landscape Forms, Sauder Worship Seating, Gunlocke, Global Industries, Arcadia, Encore Seating, Krug, Arcadia, Nevers, Peter Pepper Products, Krug

Handrails/wall guards: InPro Corporation

Lighting: Terri Vidrine, Lighting Consultant

Signage/wayfinding: Babendure Design Group

Surfaces—solid/other: Hanstone, Cambria, Zodiac, Sherwin Williams, Oceanside Glasstile, Wilsonart, DecraStone

Wallcoverings: Alpro Acoustical Systems

Other: Homan Lockers, Mecho Systems