146-bed Lake Behavioral Hospital responds to critical shortage of inpatient mental/behavioral health offerings in Lake County, Illinois
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one in five Americans suffers from mental health issues every year, while 21.4% of youth aged 13 – 18 “experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.”
Like many regions, Lake County, Illinois (population 700,500) has a severe shortage of behavioral health inpatient beds. At a recent community forum, Waukegan residents advocated stepping up resources for children and adults suffering from mental health issues.
Innovative behavioral healthcare company US HealthVest has taken a major step to address this shortcoming: construction has started on Lake Behavioral Hospital, which brings 146 beds to the former Vista Medical Center West campus in Waukegan, Illinois. The 88,000-square-foot new hospital, designed by Legat Architects, will be built by Reed Construction while the 46 beds in the existing psychiatric unit remain operational.
Lake Behavioral Hospital provides behavioral health and addiction services to a wide array of patients and offers specialized programs for women, youth, and geriatrics, as well as a psychiatric intensive care program. Among the mental health illnesses the hospital treats are depression, post-traumatic street disorder, and anxiety disorder.
Construction is expected to finish in Spring of 2020.
A Transformed Campus on a Tight Design Schedule
US HealthVest came to Legat’s healthcare team with a conceptual layout of the new hospital. The organization challenged Legat to tweak the initial layout to conform to Illinois health code and life safety requirements.
The Legat team toured the long-vacant medical office building on the former Vista Medical Center West campus. “It was like a ghost town,” said Legat project manager José Belardo. “Pictures still hung on the wall. Exam rooms had tables and casework probably from the eighties.”
A complete gut and renovation of that 58,000-square-foot facility forms one portion of Lake Behavioral Hospital. The first floor includes the main lobby, outpatient unit, and administrative offices. A 30,000-square-foot expansion adds a dining room and back of house areas such as mechanical and electrical rooms, storage, maintenance, and a kitchen. Floors two through four of the addition and renovation house the inpatient bed units.
Many elements not present in traditional hospitals had to be incorporated into the design. For instance, because patients in Lake Behavioral Hospital spend most of their time outside of their rooms, the facility offers natural light-filled day rooms, group rooms, an exercise room, and a dining room, as well as an outdoor activity space.
Another critical design challenge required maximizing patient safety. The design specifies high-impact drywall, laminated safety glass, and ligature-resistant doors, toilets, showers, and other products. Additionally, the layout restricts interaction between adults and youth.
Typically, a new hospital of this scale takes over a year to design. Belardo and team completed design of Lake Behavioral Hospital in four-and-a-half months.
“Several factors enabled us to meet the tight timeline,” said Belardo. “Most important, US HeathVest had a clear vision and a well-detailed plan of action. Our Lake County-based team developed a precise schedule and we drew from other Legat studios to meet each deadline.”
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