In 2017, Erlanger Foundations engaged Bruce Komiske, a world-renowned expert in children’s hospital design, and HKS Architects in Atlanta, to revamp their downtown medical campus.

Erlanger Children's Hospital. Photo courtesy of Heurista.
Erlanger Children’s Hospital. Photo courtesy of Heurista.
Image 2 Kennedy Outpatient Center Interior Render
Kennedy Outpatient Center render courtesy of HKS Atlanta.

During phase I, Erlanger Health Systems commissioned the 90,000-square-foot Kennedy Outpatient Center (KOPC) at the Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. The center was designed to embrace its young patients, giving flight to their imagination and creativity by making their journey to wellness an adventure in both visual and kinetic exploration.

“We originally designed the outpatient center with a skylight through the third floor roof to bring in additional natural light to the lobby/education/waiting spaces,” says Dan Luhrs, Senior Project Manager and Principal at HKS Architects.

Image 3 Erlanger Hospital Lobby Interior
Luminous SkyCeiling marvels little ones in the main lobby. Photo by Tom Harris.

“During the course of design there were additional programs that wanted to be accommodated in the KOPC that were aligned with the service lines that moved over from Erlanger Baroness. These additional programs needed the floor area on the 3rd floor that was slated to be open to the skylight and now became a solid floor blocking the skylight. So, we removed the need for the skylight and enlisted Sky Factory to help us recreate the sky above the KOPC in their system,” noted Dan.

“While I do not remember whom we worked with at Sky Factory—it’s been a while now, they did a beautiful job of creating the artificial skylight that mimic the actual sky above. This was critically important to the design as we planned (and had installed) a small scale hang glider below their system in recognition of Chattanooga’s place as the second most popular hang gliding area in our country,” Dan added.

Heurista, a company that specializes in donor recognition also used the grand scheme of the design to incorporate playful and engaging displays that not only remind visitors and the hospital community of the collective effort behind the beautiful new building, but also create memorable reminders of the Believe Campaign that funded the project.

“We have heard nothing but raves regarding the design and installation of the Sky Factory system!” said Dan Luhrs.

The KOPC represents Phase I of a much more ambitious philanthropic drive that includes fundraising for an MRI suite in the outpatient center, as well as raising funds for other facilities drawn up in Erlanger Health Systems’ master plan for the medical campus.