A GROWTH MINDSET: UCF Lake Nona Medical Center
The future is always in view for the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center. While the 3-floor, 200,000sf hospital offers space for 80 licensed patient beds, 4 operating rooms, 20 emergency department bays, and administrative support spaces, it was designed with a future 4-floor expansion in mind. Part of a 650-acre health and life sciences park known as Medical City in the popular Lake Nona community, the building was designed to seamlessly blend into the existing Orlando, Florida neighborhood, even as it grows.
The new facility is unique in that it serves as a teaching hospital, providing training programs for medical students for the University of Central Florida. The hospital is located directly across the street from the UCF College of Medicine campus, where all first- and second-year medical students attend class. The new space offers classroom spaces for students as well as outdoor green spaces.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
Layton was selected as the builder for the project, based largely on the expertise of the assembled team, including their experience in pull planning and technologies like BIM 360 as well as their subcontractor selection. Layton chose trusted subcontractors to ensure both Layton and the client’s expectations for the final product were understood from the beginning. “While we always hire skilled laborers to ensure quality outcomes, these subcontractors are also experienced Florida builders,” says Layton construction manager, John Thomas. “All of this made them valuable partners with
us throughout construction.”
The client team itself was also unique, consisting of three different stakeholders: HCA Healthcare, UCF College of Medicine, and Tavistock Development Company. Each had specific ideas of what the finished facility would encompass, which required increased collaboration and communication across all project partners to clearly define what the finished project vision was. Layton worked hard to make sure each of the client’s goals for the facility were being met, providing several different constructible solutions for every challenge. This also required flexibility with last-minute changes to provide each client with their desired outcome. “We were able to quickly pivot to changes in the design and provide multiple solutions for our clients to deliver a customized experience for them and meet their goals for the facility,” says Thomas. “We were happy to work with them and see the facility come to life.”
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
Since the hospital was built with the intention of future expansion, many of the facility systems are over-sized; however, they still needed to operate efficiently at the hospital’s current size. To accommodate the difference, the project team installed finely tuned sensors in addition to the building automation controls to allow the mechanical systems, pumps, fans, pressures, and air flow relationships to use the least amount of energy possible.
Renewable energy and energy-efficient equipment in the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems also contributed to the facility’s LEED Silver designation. Efficiency was a goal of the construction approach as well. Prefabricated exterior wall panels were used for the patient tower—a first for these clients. This prefab option not only significantly minimized any potential for mistakes, but also increased the speed and quality of construction. This was crucial considering the tropical, rainy weather season in Florida.
TEACHING AND HEALING, TOGETHER
As a teaching hospital, the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center needed to accommodate both patients and their families as well as aspiring medical professionals. The design allows the facility to be easily identified as a hospital for emergencies and medical care while seamlessly matching the style of the UCF College of Medicine campus across the street. Additionally, the layout offers a space for both parties to coexist within the facility through fluid entry ways and common spaces.
“The finishes chosen for UCF Lake Nona were unique, setting it apart not only as a hospital, but also as a learning facility,” Thomas says. “It feels warm and inviting while still providing a clean and sanitary aesthetic.”
Completed in early 2021, the hospital opened for operations in the beginning of March. The hospital offers general surgery, internal medicine, OB/GYN, emergency services, pathology, and radiology. It also offers specialty services including cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, and more, significantly making a positive impact on the community and their healthcare options.