Students design health, wellness center serving under-, uninsured

George Mann

George Mann

Architectural concepts developed by Texas A&M environmental design students for a San Antonio clinic providing accessible, affordable and quality health care for the under and underinsured patients will be unveiled to the public 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio.

The project, proposed for the Faith Family Clinic and Wellness Center, includes a 20,000 square-foot clinic and an adjacent 60,000 square-foot wellness center.

“The clinic and wellness center are adjacent on the same site because prevention and treatment are closely interrelated,” said George J. Mann, the Ronald L. Skaggs and Joseph G. Sprague Endowed Chair of Health Facilities Design and leader of the Architecture-For-Health studio.

Students have been working on the project with Jim Young, '73, executive director of the San Antonio health center. He has visited Texas A&M twice to kick off the project and review evolving design concepts, and has also communicated with students through teleconferencing sessions.

"The healing environment is a crucial consideration when a person enters a place that aims to provide medical treatment with compassion and expertise,” said Young. “From our first meeting I knew they would design the facility as a place of hope and healing of the body, mind and soul. I am thrilled with the insight and understanding these Aggie senior architectural students have brought to this project.”

Designing the clinic, said Marquesa Figueroa, a senior environmental design major, is an opportunity to engage in a rewarding cause.

“Growing up in South Texas, I have seen the benefits of what clinics such as Faith Family can do for the working uninsured and underinsured.”

Senior Kate Elizabeth Hellmann said her health facility design concentrated on patient flow.

“Having clear directional flow in the clinic from entry to exit reduces confusion and stress on patients and staff,” said Hellman. “I continued the concept to the wellness center,” she said.

In addition to the design studio project, the students have been attending a weekly Architecture-For-Health Visiting Lecture Series featuring experts in health care policy, health care finance and administration, public health, preventive medicine, medicine, nursing, programming, planning, design, construction and health facilities management.

"Because the studio is linked with the lecture series, we are able to take concepts we learn from the lectures and put them to use in our designs,” said Hellmann.

posted February 22, 2012