Normally, a healthcare facility would want to rid its interior of bugs, but the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL, actually
invited creepy-crawlies ranging from fireflies to caterpillars into the pediatric spaces in the newly expanded North Tower.
Not the real creatures, of course, but their creative characterizations in the form of precision-cut flooring insets. The
nature theme, cleverly incorporated into the new Pediatrics and NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) spaces, helps set a fun
and whimsical tone for the children. By contrast, the interior theme for the Tower’s new Women’s Center is more akin to what
you’d expect to see in a high-end hotel or boutique. The look of warm and rich wood flooring with custom-cut inlays and “area
rugs” contributes to the comforting ambiance. The children’s and women’s spaces, although differing greatly in design, have
something in common. Both use Armstrong™ resilient sheet flooring to create the flooring motif as well to provide superior
health care performance.
The themes for Carle Foundation Hospital’s new expansion project came out of a design retreat conducted by HDR Architecture
Inc., ranked as the top healthcare design firm by Modern Healthcare’s 2007 “Annual Construction & Design Survey of Healthcare Architects.” HDR Omaha, NE, designer Gary Miligan says the theme
for the pediatric spaces is based on things found in a prairie. “We wanted elements of nature reflected in the design. For
infection control issues, we also needed to use hard surface flooring. We specified TRANSLATIONS™ vinyl sheet for its range of colors plus its durable performance.” Eight colors of TRANSLATIONS—from cinnamon to mineral
green—are used in the critter concepts and surrounding field areas. TRANSLATIONS in multiple colors is also used for hundreds
of bubble-shaped flooring insets that snake their way through the hallways to guide patients and staff from one location to
An entirely different design approach is evident in the Women’s Center. Every patient room is equipped with comfortable, hotel-like
amenities. Some have flat screen TVs, DVD players and beautiful woodwork. Milligan says, “Here, we wanted the look of fine
wood flooring, but needed a resilient product for durability and maintenance.” TIMBERLINE® provides the visual warmth of natural hardwood with the high performance and low maintenance benefits of resilient flooring.
Three different wood species are used in the patient rooms and hallways.
Milligan explains, “The different kinds of woods enhance the overall appearance and create design flexibility, so that in
the future, if the hospital changes the furniture, they won’t need to change the floor.”
In the medical/surgical areas, six colors of MEDINTECH® flooring continue the idea of combining comforting design with function. The homogeneous vinyl flooring provides superior
durability and low maintenance characteristics. Multiple, soothing colors of MEDINTECH are used as insets and borders within
the field areas. Color-coordinated weld rods create seams that resist the penetration of dirt and moisture.
The amount and complexity of custom designs demanded top-notch installation. Tile Specialists, Inc., with two locations in
Illinois, was selected to install the floors based on their history with the facility and their quality of workmanship. Karl
Smith, president, says, “We specialize in health care and other commercial buildings. We have installed Armstrong products
for years, but this project is the most unique and detailed we have ever worked on. Our in-house, professional installers
did an excellent job.” The custom insets were laser-cut prior to delivery to the job site. Skilled mechanics installed literally
hundreds of pieces of flooring according to plan.
The recent $45 million North Tower expansion project is “the most significant construction project at Carle Foundation Hospital
in twenty years,” says James C. Leonard, MD, The Carle Foundation president and CEO. He adds, “We created a more patient-friendly
environment that further enhances our ability to provide the latest treatments and therapies.” Milligan adds, “The hospital
absolutely loves the look of the North Tower and has had several grand openings featuring the new spaces. The designs are
so successful that they’re creating a demand for other, older areas of the hospital to be remodeled along the lines of these
newer spaces.” Peers agree: this project won the Gold – IIDA Great Plains Chapter Design Award for health care design.
All the players on this project are no stranger to Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Clinics. HDR began working with the
hospital in the 1980’s; Tile Specialists have a history with the hospital that dates back to 1960; and Armstrong™ floors have
been used throughout the buildings for decades.
* FloorScore™ is a trademark of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. LEED® is a registered trademark of the United States
Green Building Council.