The Wisconsin Healthcare Association featured the new Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Center and Orthopaedic Associates building at 1504 Madison Avenue in Fort Atkinson, Wis. in their WHA newsletter on October 22, 2010!
In approximately one month, J. P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. (Cullen) converted a 10,000 square-foot grocery store into an orthopedic clinic. With sustainability in mind Fort HealthCare, Design Alliance, and Cullen made use of existing unoccupied retail space in the community. The building mimics the new hospital addition built in 2006 with a rounded roof and protruding canopy.
When undergoing the initial planning stages for the new Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Center and Orthopedic Associates building, the architects and clinicians paid special attention to both accessibility and sustainability. The choice to use an existing structure was the first, and perhaps most significant, in a long line of decisions made with the long-term environmental health of the community in mind.
Transforming a long-empty grocery store into a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility took imagination, but the end result is a significant improvement over the previous Therapy & Sport Center and Orthopedic Associates location where stairs and narrow hallways made it challenging for patients to navigate. “With a little forethought we were able to minimize our environmental impact and expenses simultaneously,” remarked Kim McCrea, DPT and director of rehab services.
Anyone who exercises or rehabs indoors understands the value of good lighting. In the gym, daylight sensing devices automatically shut off artificial lighting when sunlight is sufficient. Windows were added to all exterior walls and clerestories, skylight-like fixtures that can introduce diffused daylight into areas that are otherwise low on natural light, were installed in the ceiling. An open floor plan design in much of the building allows for the distribution of the resulting light into the building’s interior. Added benefits include a reduced need for building materials and a spacious feeling for the building’s occupants. Natural lighting is known to improve both healing rates and worker productivity.
Another “green” aspect of the renovation was the choice of flooring. A linoleum made of linseed oil, jute and other natural products is found in much of the building and its environmental performance over its lifecycle has earned the manufacturer, Forbo, the Sustainable Materials Rating Technology (SMART) Platinum Certification. The SMART Consensus Sustainable Product Standards (CPSC) is accredited by the American National Standards Institute.
The overall space design incorporated the use of existing desks and storage units in the floor plan. This was vital to help the existing furniture match the updated décor, some chairs and exam tables were reupholstered. New cabinets have finished surfaces on all sides so that if needs change in the future, they can be repurposed without compromising aesthetics or consuming more resources.
Construction for the project was completed by J.P. Cullen & Sons Milwaukee Division and design was done by Design Alliance of Fort Atkinson.