Southcoast Behavorial Health

Darthmouth, Massachusetts

This new 144-bed, free-standing, inpatient psychiatric hospital for Acadia Healthcare Company totals 76,810 square feet. The hospital is designed to accommodate a 24-bed, single story future expansion, has a full-service kitchen and cafeteria and includes an attached gymnasium.

Design and construction expediency is critical in the behavioral health marketplace. Southcoast was completed in 18 months from design initiation to building occupancy. An integrated design and construction team cooperated closely to provide a lean project budget and schedule, while providing a safe, comfortable inviting environment for patients and staff.

CMTA’s extensive behavioral health experience was critical to this project in order to provide an environment that limits ligature and patient safety risks. Levels of patient safety were established for all areas of the building in conjunction with standards set forth by the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. Each area received specific ligature and vandal-resistance provisions, according to the level of staff supervision in each area. All patient safety provisions were approached with goal of a healing environment in mind, minimizing the institutional feel of the facility.

Electronic safety provisions at Southcoast included special security system provisions for patient and staff safety. An extensive access control system provides control and tracking of all egress from the building and from patient units. This system is coordinated with a detailed architectural door hardware package, fire alarm system design, intercoms with remote door release and the facility’s functional program to eliminate elopement opportunities and provide staff with functional control of the facility during all operating hours. A panic alarm system for staff provides additional safety. A specialized motion detection system for patient rooms provides staff notification of patient room activity during sleeping hours. Audio/visual system design is tailored to the environment, to minimize risks and provide audible/visual simulation opportunities for patients.

Southcoast was constructed with energy-efficiency in mind, but maintained a focus on low first cost. Strategic application of high-efficiency, low-maintenance light solutions resulted in a lighting power density 18% better than energy code requirements. HVAC tonnage and overall cost was reduced through the use of an improved building envelope. The result is a low Energy Use Index (EUI) of 79.