University of Kentucky Healthcare – Makenna Foundation Welcome Center and Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU

  • area / size 44,000 sqft
  • Completed 2017
  • HGA completed the Makenna Foundation Welcome Center and Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

    The University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) is a hospital within a hospital. Originally designed in 1988, KCH lacked a central lobby and registration area and was only accessible through a single visitor elevator. Now as part of the 70-bed Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU expansion, HGA and GBBN deigned a new Makenna Foundation Welcome Center to bring greater visibility to KCH and the NICU.

    The welcome center includes patient and visitor registration, children-focused gift shop, digital interactive wall, Simpson Family Theater to host events and programs, large-scale “Exuberance” art installation comprised of marble-filled kites suspended from the ceiling, and pediatric health education center.

    Beyond the welcome center, the new 48,000 square-foot NICU replaces the existing NICU, allowing the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to expand into the newly vacated space. The welcome center also connects to the newly formed pediatric outpatient procedure and sedation center on the ground floor.

    The NICU features 68 patient rooms with daybed for parents; nature-themed neighborhoods that feature colorful mosaics inspired by Kentucky wildlife; circadian rhythm lighting; infant nutrition room; lounge, kitchen, laundry, and shower facilities for parents; two care-by-parent rooms; and staff spaces with workroom, lounge area, quiet room, and terrace.

    The NICU is organized into six neighborhoods of 12 to 14 beds to create personal scale and allow staff to dedicate themselves to a smaller group of patients for cohesive care created by staff teams. A variety of caregiver spaces encourage huddles, support, and learning. Additionally, movement through the NICU is open to increase connections between staff and families.

    Environmental graphics create a sense of place for families and staff. Six Kentucky-related natural themes provide visual ownership of the neighborhoods, seen in large mosaics at the entrance and smaller artwork throughout the neighborhoods. Skylights and large-scale windows infuse the interior with natural light, creating a soothing and warm environment.

    Design Architect: HGA
    Architect of Record: GBBN
    Design Team: Rebecca Sanders, Michael Kennedy, Mark Reckin
    Contractor: Turner Construction
    PhotographyHalkin Mason