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Health Systems

Why Texas Health Frisco Will Have a Pocket Park

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Texas Health Frisco
Texas Health Frisco
Texas Health Frisco Hospital (Courtesy of: Texas Health Frisco)

Texas Health Frisco CEO Brett Lee said THR wanted to think differently about the role of its new hospital in Frisco, and is creating an environmentally-friendly campus that serves as a community gathering space that emphasizes wellness with the same commitment it devotes to sick patients. Texas Health Frisco is the first hospital-based partnership between UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources, opening in December.

The $270 million campus and medical office building are part of the medical expansion northward of the various hospital systems, including Children’s Health, Cook Children’s, Baylor Scott and White, Texas Scottish Rite, and Medical City.

“We were careful to take note of the wants and needs of the surrounding community from the very beginning of the design process,” said Brett Lee, president of Texas Health Frisco via release. “We got input from local residents, neighborhood associations and city leaders. We think the result of that work will be something everyone will be proud of.”

Frisco is a young and growing community with many transplants, and Lee said focus groups were used to determine what the community wanted in the hospital. Working with the adjacent homeowners association and others, the hospital intends to be “a community provider, but also an active member of the community,” Lee says.

The development includes a 325,000-square-foot, 73-bed acute care hospital with all the normal service lines, and will be joined by a 120,000 square foot UT Southwestern Medical Center office building to house outpatient care in more than a dozen specialties and subspecialties.

The design by architecture firm HKS includes a number of environmentally friendly touches. The hospital is placed on the 20-acre site to reduce wind damage and noise pollution, and pre-cast concrete facades are designed to resist high winds, absorb heat, and reduce air conditioning demand.

The campus’ irrigation system uses rainfall and air conditioning condensation, and an underground retention pond forms bioswales, which are channels designed to move water, debris, and pollution, with native landscaping to naturally filter runoff.

“Hospitals in general are heavy energy consumers, so we decided to shift to a greener approach by reducing consumption and finding ways to be better stewards of the natural resources in the area,” said Kirk King, Texas Health’s Hospital Channel chief operating officer via release.

Natural light and materials are also found throughout the facility, including a wooded skybridge between the office building and hospital. “The design is intended to invoke the feeling of walking along the vast branches of a tree canopy, or rope bridge, as patrons cross the bridgeway surrounded by glass and protected from the weather,” Lee said via release.

Texas Health Frisco
Texas Health Frisco under construction (Courtesy of: Texas Health Frisco)

The hospital and design team have played host to other expansion projects in the organization, as Texas Health is no stranger to innovative design. The under construction hospital in Mansfield is being built with modular bathrooms and footwalls that are built offsite and brought in as complete units.

The grounds will include walking trails, a cafeteria with local produce and businesses, including an Ascension Coffee outpost. “We want the area around us to think about us like a gathering spot,” Lee says.

The hospital hopes to be a place that promotes wellness and will have a quarter-acre pocket park on campus, host community education classes, nutrition counseling, and mommy and me yoga. While it adds some costs on the front end, “we are making sure we are good stewards of the community,” Lee says. “It’s the right thing to do.”