Kennedy Krieger Institute announced today the opening of a new outpatient center that will improve and expand services to children and young adults with developmental disabilities and spinal cord injuries in the Baltimore/Washington region and across the nation.
The 115,000-square foot center includes features, such as aquatic therapy pools and a therapeutic garden, which create new opportunities to care for patients with a range of disabilities in innovative ways.
Located in the newly constructed Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, the center was designed for and by the people who use it the most-patients, families, and staff. Throughout the process, Kennedy Krieger and architecture firm Stanley Beaman & Sears placed a strong emphasis on soliciting input from these stakeholders to help shape the building's design.
The Outpatient Center and Weinberg Building were funded by $35 million raised as part of Unlocking Potential: The Campaign for Kennedy Krieger Institute. The Campaign also raised $20 million to expand research and programs across the Institute, such as those for autism, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and brain injury.
The following elements were incorporated into the building's design:
The majority of a Baltimore city block was transformed into an outdoor therapeutic garden to promote healing in a natural, aesthetically pleasing environment. The Garden includes a labyrinth and three therapy "rooms" where therapists can help patients practice real-world challenges, such as going up a curb, maneuvering a tight ramp in a wheel chair, walking up and down differently-sized steps and traversing various surfaces from concrete to pebbles to grass.
Aquatic Therapy Center
With a floor of its own, the aquatic therapy center allows patients to escape the limitations of gravity as they learn new skills and undergo therapy for a traumatic injury or developmental disability. Two pools are equipped with underwater treadmills, video systems, sensory temperature controls and hydraulic lifts that allow the floors to be raised and lowered for easy access by patients in wheelchairs.
Quality Patient Care
Over 7,500 square feet is solely dedicated to rehabilitative therapy gyms, allowing physical therapy, occupational therapy and advanced restorative therapy to take place in open, expansive spaces. Collaborative work spaces for staff and an intentional building layout ensures teams of clinicians are physically closer to each other to best facilitate multidisciplinary care for patients.
Aside from new technologies and physical features, the center incorporates several interior design components to promote healing and improve the patient experience. A dramatic use of color builds from the green of the ground floor to the sky blue of the top floor, and natural light floods nearly every space.
The Institute incorporated green elements into the building's design to increase efficiency and reduce energy usage. Stanley Beaman & Sears and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company utilized different materials to incorporate environmentally-friendly elements into the building, including different kinds of glass that absorb less heat, carpet tiles that can be individually replaced if necessary, and energy efficient lights and transformers.