HOK Unveils UMSL’s Patient Care Center Design

ST. LOUIS — The University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) recently released the first images for the new $17 million Patient Care Center for the school’s Colleges of Optometry and Nursing. Designed by locally based HOK, the new 48,000-square-foot facility will replace the existing University Eye Center, and will help expand and enhance the eye care services currently offered.
"The HOK team understands what it takes to help us reshape the education setting and create an environment that facilitates the delivery of efficient and high quality care for our patients," said Dr. Larry Davis, dean of UMSL’s College of Optometry, in a statement. "They have offered creative ideas at each step of the planning process that address the functional aspects desired from the building. We look forward to seeing those plans take shape in the coming months."
Located on a seven-acre landscaped site, the new two-story Patient Care Center will provide space for clinical education and research as well as comprehensive eye and vision care. About 13,000 square feet of space is dedicated for partnership opportunities such as a walk-in clinic and dental-care services.
The building’s two-story atrium was designed to incorporate an abundance of natural light as well as to offer clear wayfinding to four service groups: adult eye care, pediatric eye care, contact lens eye care and primary health care. A series of clerestory windows above each of the four areas will allow natural light to reach inner corridors and spaces. Each clinic will feature student-faculty consultation space, individual and group learning space and promote collaboration between the students, faculty and staff.
The Patient Care Center’s prominent location along Natural Bridge Road will create a new gateway to the university’s district of professional schools south of the road. Its location adjacent to the UMSL South MetroLink station will also help create new pathways to connect the Patient Care Center to mass transit campus wide.
Funding for the new center came in part from a supplemental fee that will be assessed to optometry students. It is also funded by internal reallocations within the college and campus reserves. The improvements to the College of Optometry are the first phase of planned capital improvements for the UMSL campus. Future phases of construction will include an additional 200,000 square feet to bring all teaching and learning, research and administrative functions for the Colleges of Nursing and Optometry into one faccility.
UMSL has the only optometry program in Missouri and one of just 21 nationwide. The new Patient Care Center is scheduled to open in 2016, making the program even more attractive to qualified faculty and students.