Life Chiropractic College West has undertaken a major project to re-envision and renovate its Life West Monte H. Greenawalt Health Center.
This project is the brainchild of president Brian Kelly, DC, and the executive vice president of the health center, Timothy Gay, DC. The two worked closely with Glen David, CEO of Davlen Design, to create this extraordinary new facility.
A shared vision
The story begins in the spring of 2014 when Gay was hired as EVP of the health center and I coordinated his plans with Kelly. Their shared goal was to revolutionize the way chiropractic care is delivered at Life West. Ideally, they would create an enhanced learning experience for both students and patients in a new environment.
Prior to the renovation, the health center was outdated from floor to ceiling. It was time to redesign and create a new center to give interns a modern practice experience and pride in the place they first begin.
Among the many practical concerns raised by the project, Gay and Kelly wanted the new health center to match the specific technique needs of interns. Interns need to privately communicate with patients but also need to experience the semi-open style of adjusting and patient care.
The pair knew of Glen David’s work with chiropractors around the country, so they talked to him about the project. As they discussed the possibilities of micro-cubicles and modular work spaces to serve multiple purposes, there was a tremendous amount of excitement.
“During the initial meeting, we developed a laundry list of design elements that were imperative to the long-term success of not just the health center but also the success of the profession,” David says. It would be necessary to match the current state of the profession and also embrace what practice might be like five and even 10 years from now.
The remodel would create an environment that both looked great and would increase the college’s ability to serve more patients in the same amount of space. David suggested incorporating a modular approach to construction. This approach has been successful for many of his clients as it provides solutions for the present and future.
Once the modular concept was agreed upon, the team began working out the details. The project scope widened from a remodel to a complete overhaul. The redesign would provide modern, clean lines matched with timeless colors and materials.
“We needed to incorporate state-of-the-art communication, media, and management technologies along with inclusion of product display and distribution areas,” David says.
Furthermore, equipment, diagnostics, EMR, patient education, and more were included in the design parameters. “Being prepared for the future of the profession means preparing the students with information about the future before they even understand what that means,” David says.First they looked at developing a better flow for patients. “Everything starts at the front desk,” Gay says. “They are then introduced to the reception area where the intern meets with them to begin their care.”
While this sounds straightforward, for new interns and patients, finding the right rooms in the maze of the old building’s hallways was frustrating and time-consuming.
“There are two floors that make up the health center and we wanted them to mirror each other as closely as possible, but needed to vary enough to support the differing techniques provided,” Gay says. Each floor now has approximately 9,000 square feet of space divided into modules broken down even further into personal patient suites.
Team Davlen developed renderings to review potential solutions with the health center team. Ideas were refined, systems and strategies were added, technologies were integrated, and it was time to determine if this vision could materialize.
Davlen presented a virtual 3D tour of the structural soundness, fit, and function of the systems and to ensure that they could actually produce better results. Solutions to patient flow become clear when everyone was able to see the virtual model.
“We also mapped out where plants and foliage would be to bring life to the space,” David says.
Vision creates function and function creates structure. And a strong structure for patient education was critical to the project. Being a chiropractic patient for over 30 years himself and crediting chiropractic for saving his son’s life, David is committed to taking the chiropractic message beyond that of spinal pain relief. He has incorporated numerous design concepts that amplify a chiropractor’s ability to attract and motivate patients to lead healthy, wellness-based lifestyles.
“The educational element begins in the adjusting bays that can be trans- formed into lecture centers at a moment’s notice,” David says. This design strategy extends into the multi- function report room. There are almost two dozen multifunction rooms throughout the health center that are designed to help a doctor integrate and systematize what they say with what tools they use, in a manner that a patient understands and remembers.
The design process and planning phase took almost a year. Choices had to be made for carpeting and upholstery, for technology and wiring. The level of detail was daunting.
“With all of the moving parts with this project, we needed logistical strategies, phases of construction, meetings with patients, students and faculty, making sure we stayed on budget. Most significantly, we needed to keep the health center open for patient care,” Gay says.
The first phase took place downstairs. By moving the interns, faculty, and furniture, operations were condensed to one floor, collapsing from 18,000 to 9,000 square feet. This had to happen before any demolition or construction could take place.
After the demolition, painting, carpeting, and electrical phases were complete, David and his team arrived to put together the modular areas. “In late October, 56,000 pounds of Davlen systems were unloaded into the health center. Just 58 hours later, four men completed the full assembly—a full week ahead of schedule,” David says. The college was cleared to outfit the floor with refurbished equipment in matching colors, and to complete preparations to see patients.
Perfect planning makes perfection
Today, as you enter the remodeled reception room, you are greeted with confident, happy reception staff operating state-of-the-art patient management systems. The reception room contains an air of sophistication that includes hospitality stations, educational media, and new-patient intake centers.
In the adjusting space, each micro-suite enables interns to experience what it is like to practice in a 400–600 square-foot area as a viable first practice. This concept will enable students to envision starting their own practice right after graduation.
In addition to the upstairs remodel now in progress, the last phase will construct a revolutionary “radial theater” to enhance professors’ ability to demonstrate and monitor different techniques. The radiology department will also get a refresh in first impressions and patient management.
“The transformation is like night and day, from where we came from to where we are now. Our patients have seen the massive renovation— and they are telling their friends and bringing in family members for care,” Gay says.
For their part, the interns are proud of the changes that have taken place. They realize this was not just a dream, but a vision turned into reality. They are seeing that new systems and procedures are necessary for their success.
The health center faculty have a responsibility to their interns to give them the leadership and knowledge to build a practice based on sound academic and business advice along with their adjusting skills. The faculty love having a better learning environment and the tools that they need to succeed in their mentorship roles.
“It is a tribute to what people can do when they work together and see a greater vision beyond themselves,” Gay says.
Timothy J. Gay, DC, is executive vice president of the Life Chiropractic College West Health Center. He is also a national speaker, and author who has helped thousands of chiropractors improve their practices through his straightforward, experiential speaking style. He can be contacted at 866-797-8366.