The Henderson County Health Sciences Center integrates healthcare delivery and healthcare education in a state-of-the-art facility that addresses key challenges for three separate entities: Pardee Hospital, Wingate University, and Blue Ridge Community College. Developed by Henderson County, this innovative collaboration capitalizes on the opportunity to retain Wingate’s presence in downtown Hendersonville, provide a better patient experience for Pardee’s Cancer Center, and activate the 6th Avenue streetscape. Located on the Pardee Hospital campus, the building design reflects and promotes the confluence between these entities to create an environment that functions collectively to advance healthcare in the community and beyond.

Home to Pardee Hospital’s Cancer Center and Surgical Clinic, Wingate University’s Pharmacy and Physician Assistant programs, and Blue Ridge Community College’s Nursing and Surgical Technology programs, the potential for engagement between students and healthcare professionals was the driving force behind the design of shared and open spaces. The program balances the distinct identities of the three organizations with a unified design that fosters interaction and creative discovery.

Pardee’s growing Cancer Center occupies the ground floor and was designed to enhance all aspects of the patient experience. In addition to the primary entry facing the interior of the hospital campus, an ambulance drop-off provides the smoothest possible transition from the main hospital to the cancer center. A light-filled, two-story lobby provides connectivity with educational programming on the second floor while separate circulation maintains privacy and serenity for patients and visitors. The extensive use of glazing facing campus creates a sense of unity with the healing garden, a focal point of the facility. The cancer center includes treatment and recovery areas for both radiation oncology and medical oncology, a linear accelerator (strategically located below grade), doctors’ offices, a lab for patient bloodwork, interspersed waiting areas for family and friends, and access to a café on the second floor. In addition to the cancer center, the first floor is home to a surgical clinic and its associated labs and offices, providing a new space for several surgeons performing outpatient surgeries.

Wingate University’s Pharmacy and Physician Assistant programs occupy the second floor, with administrative space for faculty, a two-story theater classroom shared with Blue Ridge Community College, classrooms, labs, and exam rooms. To foster collaboration between students, breakout rooms were included for active discussion and teamwork; these rooms have become some of the most popular spaces in the facility. On the third floor, Blue Ridge Community College’s Nursing and Surgical Technology programs have access to nursing and phlebotomy laboratories, mock operating rooms and OR labs, classrooms, a large lecture hall, and administrative space for faculty. Each educational space is crafted to inspire learning and simulate the healthcare workplace, preparing students for future employment in these in-demand career fields.

Connectivity between indoor and outdoor experiences was a priority in the design of the Health Sciences Center, with the outdoor environment serving as both a healing and teaching tool. A rooftop garden extends from the facility’s second floor, overlooking and mirroring the healing garden below. The roof garden is used by Wingate and BRCC as outdoor classroom and gathering space and creates another connection between the education taking place on the upper floors and the healthcare delivery taking place on the ground level. An outdoor plaza activates the 6th Avenue entrance and streetscape, meeting dual goals to support economic development in downtown Hendersonville and provide opportunities for impromptu interaction between students and healthcare professionals.

The Health Sciences Center is the result of an intentional effort to enhance the healing environment and integrate education and practice to drive healthcare innovation. As put by Pardee Hospital CEO Jay Kirby, ““Our county, the city, Wingate, Blue Ridge, Pardee all came together, put their egos at the door and did what was best for our community, for our patients, for our students and for our teachers.”

Building North Carolina Awards – Honorable Mention, 2016