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Father Martin's Ashley staff drives Skip's Hall's streamlined design

January 29, 2016
by Julia Brown, Associate Editor
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Skip’s Hall for Integrated Addiction Treatment is a new $20 million, 44,000-square-foot building on the Father Martin’s Ashley campus that opened in October 2015. The three year project was funded largely by a $13 million donation from the Skip Viragh Foundation—one of the largest gifts given to a non-profit addiction treatment center.

Leaders at Father Martin’s Ashley say they were dedicated to creating an integrated, individualized treatment facility for patients requiring a multidisciplinary approach. The natural-light-filled structure features an admissions and nursing program, pain recovery program, as well as a wellness and fitness center.

“Our patients have a lot of needs and a lot of expectations, so at Skip’s Hall we were able to expand what we do with more activity space, more staff space, and increase total capacity by 15 beds,” says Bernadette Solounias, MD, medical director and senior vice president of treatment services.

She adds that the design of the building was a challenge because the entire staff had preferences, particularly with regard to streamlining the admissions process.

“All of us who were going to be working in that building had ideas about how things should flow and were involved in many meetings among ourselves and with the architects regarding the best way to conduct daily activities and take care of patients in an efficient and dignified way,” she says. “For example, we designed the admissions process so our patients would have an easy transition into medical treatment with more efficient, working nurses’ stations and a detox wing.”

Personal spaces

Additional features include enhanced space for individual patients in their rooms as well as a facilitywide nurse call system.

“We worked very diligently on understanding everything from the storage needs of their clothing, their use of the bathroom, the space for them to study to work on their assignments and to have private time, and that level of separation we felt was important, in terms of meeting some of the personal needs of the patient,” says Daniel Berardi, vice president of support services.

Additionally, at Skip’s Hall, holistic treatment like acupuncture and massage, art therapy activities, and other group activities like yoga and meditation classes are all centralized. A meditation garden is also available for patients looking for tranquility.

“Patients present with pretty complex histories and complex problems, and this space allows us to do more individualized treatments,” says Solounias. “The fitness center has the capacity for larger group and team activities. It’s something people are much more interested in now, so we can really meet their expectations.”

Style consistency

The use of windows to let in natural light, original artwork, local stone and a neutral color palette are all used throughout the facility.

“Part of what we wanted to translate to the patient as well as the staff members and our visitors was a soft, welcoming palette of colors that has a timeless quality to it,” says Berardi.
Leaders thought it was important for the facility to be consistent in look and style to the other campus buildings constructed in the late 19th century.  

“We certainly didn’t want the building to stick out like an oddball, and, if anything, we show more of a campus look now with the addition of the building,” he says. “It really added to the style that Ashley’s known for.”

Ultimately, Berardi advises other organizations to stay true to their vision and mission when pursuing similar projects.

“We’re very proud of the fact that it was a very staff-driven design process. I’m not sure we could’ve done the right thing without the users being part of that,” he says.

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