Missing piece: Cherokee Indian Hospital, Phase II – Behavioral Health and Addition of Crisis Stabilization Units


The Cherokee Indian Hospital (CIHA) Authority in Cherokee, NC, has sought to provide more streamlined care for members of the East Cherokee Indian Band (EBCI) who require mental, behavioral or emotional health services. or drug abuse. To help achieve this goal, the organization built a replacement facility for its Cherokee Indian Hospital in 2015, where crisis care is provided in the emergency department (ED), followed in 2018 by Kanvwotiyi, a 20-bed residential treatment center in Graham County, NC, which hosts treatments and programs for adult patients. But one vacancy remained: a safe and secure environment where these patients could be stabilized before being transferred from the hospital to residential care. The solution will help alleviate the prolonged use of ED beds for the behavioral health needs of hospitalized patients and provide a designated space for mental health care services. “It was decided that if we really wanted to help and provide treatment for this community, we needed a whole continuum of services,” says Casey Cooper, CEO of CIHA.

CIHA decided to build an on-campus add-on, but the former 1970s hospital was on the way, with a portion of the vacant building still used for administrative and storage space. Working with the architecture firm McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecturand (Charlotte, NC) and construction management company Robins & Morton (Birmingham, Ala.), Management later considered demolishing the 77,000-square-foot hospital, but soon realized it would be too expensive. Instead, says Josh Farr, superintendent of Robins & Morton, the team finally chose to demolish only part of the building, saving and renovating 34,000 square feet for continued administrative use and adding 43,000 square feet to create an outpatient and crisis unit. which connects to the main hospital – a move that has saved about $ 1 million.

Opened in June 2020, the first floor of the facility houses a behavioral health outpatient clinic with 13 counseling rooms, an examination room, small and large group rooms, and two large classrooms. The second-floor crisis stabilization unit includes 18 patient rooms for behavioral health patients, four acute care patient rooms that are equipped to support anyone in health crisis, and two large group therapy rooms.

To ensure the building fits the campus and reflects the EBCI culture, the project team met regularly with a committee of tribal and senior members to seek input. “The external cultural symbols, materials and elements correspond perfectly to the Cherokee Indian Hospital to convey the message that the programs contained in it are equally important to the mission and vision of the facility,” says Christie Adams, head of the healthcare segment and project director at McMillan Pazdan Architecture Smith. For example, the design of the terraced floor at the entrance and the main corridor of the hospital illustrates a local legend – a detail brought in the new addition with the legend of a magical lake depicted on the floor. On the outside, a unique motif depicting the symbol for the wind corresponds to the outside of the new hospital. “The addition seems to have always been a part of the campus,” says Farr.

Project details:

Project Name: Cherokee Indian Hospital, Phase II – Addition of Behavioral Health and Crisis Stabilization Units

Location: Cherokee, NC

Project completion date: June 2020

Owner: Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority

Total building area: 80,000 sq. M. Ft.

Total cost of construction: $ 36 million


Cost / sq. ft: $ 469

Architecture: McMillan Pazdan Smith

Interior design: McMillan Pazdan Smith

General contractors: Robins & Morton

Engineering: RN&M (mechanical), 4D Engineering (civil), SKA Consulting Engineers (structural)

Manufacturer: Robins & Morton

Art Consultant: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Art / pictures: Oriental Band of Cherokee Indians

Carpet / floor: McMillan Pazdan Smith

Fabric: McMillan Pazdan Smith

Furniture-seats / casegoods: McMillan Pazdan Smith

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