Regardless of their ability to pay, Pueblo Community Health Center (PCHC) has served the healthcare needs of the people of Pueblo and Huerfano Counties of Colorado for nearly 40 years.
Everything from medical services to dental services, behavioral health services, lab work, health education, prenatal care, women’s wellness services, and pharmaceutical services. They operate as an independent nonprofit organization managed by a community Board of Directors.
In partnership with the school system and other health organizations, Pueblo Community Health Center is responsible for School-Based Wellness Centers operated onsite at six high schools and middle schools in the area. Students can receive the healthcare they need without their parents missing work or the students missing class.
PCHC inherited the School-Based Wellness Centers from another healthcare organization. For budget reasons, the previous operator equipped the centers with piecemeal furniture—they were functional, but not aesthetically pleasing. PCHC wanted to bring the design standard of the wellness centers up to that of their main clinics and their corporate image. They needed to update the facilities to meet healthcare facilities code requirements. They also wanted staff and students to feel pride in their sites.
Four sites that were housed in older school buildings needed immediate attention. In addition to mismatched furniture, the sites had chipped paint, broken desks, and stained ceiling tiles. The sites varied in size and layout, creating challenging space limitations. The remodel would require significant effort in a short amount of time. All of the updates would need to be made quickly over school breaks—Christmas Break and Spring Break—so that site operations would not be impacted.
“I had a vision in my mind of how I wanted things to look,” says Laura Kelly, Chief Development/Foundation Officer, who was given responsibility for the assignment, “but I just didn’t know how to use the space more efficiently or what was possible. Our previous vendor just took orders from us. Everything looked so tired after only a few years. I needed someone who would collaborate with me and take my vision to the next level.”
PCHC decided to engage Total Office because they brought more to the table than just ordering furniture—they brought extensive space planning experience and a designer’s eye.
The Total Office staff always starts a project by placing the people who will use the space at the heart of their design.
They visited the school sites to watch the interactions between the medical staff and the students and to understand the type of work conducted onsite. They observed how the staff used the space and the existing furniture. They paid attention to moments of collaboration, consultation, and interaction between staff members. They even noted makeshift solutions that the staff had created to help them perform their work.
PCHC challenged Total Office to design a unified look across locations while customizing the color scheme to reflect the school colors at each school site, hoping to better connect with the students. They wanted the School-Based Wellness Centers to feel integrated into the school culture so the students would feel comfortable interacting with the medical staff.
The Total Office staff took measurements and then went to work designing spaces that built on Laura Kelly’s vision. They returned with complete, full color renderings of each proposed site to help Kelly and her staff visualize the transformation of the spaces.
Smaller spaces require flexibility in use, so the Total Office designers looked for furniture and partition solutions that could accommodate growing needs but still provided patient privacy.
“The designers at Total Office noticed problem areas at each site that I had never picked up on and then brought solutions for those as well,” says Kelly. “They found innovative ways to help the medical teams accomplish their work more efficiently. They understood the big picture and then made it all look cohesive.”
Total Office also worked within PCHC’s specified timelines. Two of the sites were completely renovated over Christmas Break; two were overhauled over Spring Break, including painting, flooring, electrical and plumbing repairs, furniture installations, and move in. The medical staff never missed a beat tending to the healthcare needs of the students.
PCHC recognized that they had found a partner in Total Office, who could deliver far more than pieces of furniture. They didn’t just focus on quick bandage fixes. Rather they delivered efficient solutions to problematic areas while creating an inviting environment where the students felt comfortable seeking healthcare.
In each School-Based Wellness Center, students encounter an inviting, relaxed environment with quality furniture.
Total Office selected furniture styles and finishes that appeal to the younger audience and give subtle assurance that the medical treatment is up-to-date and top-notch. Total Office equipped the patient waiting areas with Groupe Lacasse Brylee guest chairs and National Whimsy Ottomans. Reception check-in desks were supplied by the Groupe Lacasse Reception line of furniture. Medical staff workstations consist of Groupe Lacasse 400E series, equipped with Upswing task chairs. Total Office included both seated workstations and standing workstations in different locations, depending on staff needs and preferences. Examination rooms are fitted with Groupe Lacasse Harmoniä modular cabinetry and workstations, which meet healthcare and safety codes, along with National Ditto chairs.
Total Office paid attention to unique opportunities to improve efficiency and better utilize the limited space at each location. In one site, they noticed an unused exterior door that remained locked. The designers added a rolling privacy partition, a chair and a small workstation, turning a wasted cubby into a patient checkstation for vitals before entry into the examination room.
In most areas of the schools where the Wellness Centers are located, students encountered tired, worn furniture. PCHC invested in the spaces, sending the message that the medical staff are valued employees and the students are valued “customers.” Total Office took that charge seriously and ran with it, creating an environment where students and staff feel welcomed and respected by the parent organization.
“I wanted to create a space that the staff and students would like. Total Office gave me the confidence with every decision I encountered that the plan we created together would achieve that objective. And it has! The staff love their new space. The students feel comfortable coming here. All parties feel pride in the space, so they take better care of it,” says Kelly.
Pueblo Community Health Center has since hired Total Office to revitalize several of their other locations
Location: Four School-Based Wellness Centers in Pueblo, Colorado | Industry: Healthcare | Square Footage:2,339 combined