exterior emergency room rendering

Howard County General Hospital Expansion and Renovation

Howard County General Hospital Expansion and Renovation | Columbia, Maryland

DPR’s first engagement with the Johns Hopkins Medicine network consisted of a 53,000-sq.-ft., three-story addition at the Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) campus.



The project consisted of an expansion of the emergency department with an entrance, waiting area and evaluation area. The first floor also includes an added 23-bed observation unit for patients who need treatment and monitoring, but not full admittance to the hospital. The observation unit is located on the first floor adjacent to the emergency department to help with care transitions. The second floor consists of a 20-bed inpatient behavioral health which was designed with the latest equipment and furnishings to create a comfortable, healing environment.

The behavioral health unit includes significant design elements to maximize the safety of both patients and hospital staff. Tamper proof and anti-ligature light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, air devices, door hardware, and equipment are incorporated throughout the unit. All potentially sharp corners of walls, counters, and other surfaces were eased to ensure safety. Door hardware and electronic security systems were integrated to ensure a secure unit while also allowing for emergency exit capabilities. Each behavioral health unit room is bigger and brighter to help facilitate the healing process.



The project presented serious logistical challenges in keeping all parts of the campus operational throughout construction. Existing emergency exits were maintained and were protected by overhead protection. The existing ambulance drop off location was not changed, which meant that ambulance traffic was routed through the construction site. DPR developed detailed procedures regarding material delivery and logistics to ensure that the ambulance path was never impeded by construction activity. HCGH’s helicopter pad, adjacent to the site, remained operational through construction as well. DPR worked with the hospital staff to develop a notification plan for incoming helicopters to ensure on-site materials were not blown by the helicopter rotor downwash.

The second floor connects back to the existing hospital via a connector bridge which was built on the roof of the existing hospital. Structural reinforcement was placed above the ceiling of the existing building, directly above an operating nuclear medicine camera. DPR worked closely with the hospital to plan and schedule the work over several weekends to ensure that operations were not affected and that the equipment was fully protected.

The addition and renovation to Howard County General Hospital serves the growing and aging population in the surrounding area which includes many DPR employees. Both construction and substantial renovation enhances comfort, convenience, and ambiance for visitors and patients alike while supporting high quality and increasing efficiency for care providers.

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