DALLAS, Texas — On Jan. 30, Children’s Medical Center Dallas received an Accessibility Award from the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities in partnership with the Accessibility Specialists Association. The annual awards recognize businesses and organizations that have gone above and beyond the legal requirements to provide both physical and service accessibility to people with disabilities.
“WHR Architects has had the good fortune to work with the team at Children’s on multiple projects from branding and wayfinding to renovations that include the renovation of the main lobby with its Centennial Celebration Exhibit,” said Mark Vaughan, AIA, ACHA, principal-in-charge of the WHR’s Dallas office and Children’s projects. “With their dedication to children with medical needs and their families, all of our work has included a strong emphasis on physical and service accessibility and we are especially proud of the lobby with its lively, immersive exhibit.”
The Centennial Exhibit features multiple screens and interactive displays including a timeline and touch screens that tell the story of the development of Children’s Medical Center from the early Baby Camp days to becoming the sixth-largest pediatric healthcare provider in the country. A spacious reception desk, easily visible from the two entrances into the lobby, welcomes patients, their families and visitors and provides an orientation point. The layout is readily navigable, accessible and provides clears lines of sight for visitors, as well as the reception staff.
In addition, obstacle-free, accessible routes are provided in the building and the parking lot, and in the routes between the two. The facility also offers 24/7 valet parking for patients or visitors with mobility impairments. The Ryan Seacrest Studios allows critical care patients access to view special events within their rooms.
“Children’s is proud to offer patients and families obstacle-free routes throughout the hospital,” says Judson Orlando, Children’s director of design and construction. “Our mission is to make life better for children, and that starts with a strong focus on physical and service accessibility.”
In 2010 the APA teamed with the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities to create a statewide accessibility awards program. They are now in their fourth year of presenting State of Texas Proclamations signed by the Governor of Texas in recognition of very good examples of design / construction projects that clearly exceed the required accessibility standards and in service accessibility by their staff and to the end users of commercial buildings in Texas.
Nominations for the awards are submitted by individuals and organizations from communities throughout the state: Children’s Centennial Lobby was nominated by Fred D. Cawyer AIA, RAS, NCARB & APA, who has been advising the hospital on accessibility issues for 15 years. Site visits and interviews were conducted by Registered Accessibility Specialists who are members of the APA, and by local community contacts familiar with disability service issues.
The project has been successful in part due to the collaboration between Children’s Medical Center Dallas, WHR Architects, program manager Healthcare Building Solutions, general contractor The Beck Group, exhibit design consultant West Office Exhibition Design and several other project team members.