Grace Clinic

Glass building housing Grace with trees outside

Improving The Healthcare Experience

This bright, efficient building is designed to better serve patients.

  • Two-Story Glass Entry

    The building's exterior was designed to differentiate.

  • A Perfect Fit For Butler

    The project required a complex design and high R-values.

  • Custom Details

    Butler engineers helped ensure vibration loads were within spec for the operating areas.

Making Better Care A Reality

Designed For Patients

Imagine visiting your doctor’s office, having lab work done, picking up your prescription and walking out 45 minutes later.

A dream? Not at Grace Clinic, a new 110,000-square-foot facility in Lubbock, Texas, dedicated to improving the patient’s health care experience.

“We’re running around 45 minutes right now and we want to improve on that. Our goal is 30 minutes.”

Randy Hickle, MD, Grace Clinic

He emphasizes that the efficiencies are all on the part of the clinic—patients may spend all the time they want with their physician.

A practicing anesthesiologist and inventor, Hickle also heads Scott Laboratories, a leading-edge medical research and development firm in Lubbock. Scott Laboratories developed Grace Clinic to address delivery of quality care while improving the patient’s experience and decreasing the rise in health care costs.

Hickle knew an innovative approach to health are would need a new building from the outset. He tapped Jim McComb, of McComb Construction Co. Inc., a Butler Builder® in Austin, Texas, for help. Since the clinic would be in Lubbock, some 400 miles away, McComb agreed to act as owner’s rep for the project, assembling a construction team and overseeing the job.

Parkhill, Smith and Cooper Inc., in Lubbock, was chosen as the architect and engineer of record, based on the firm’s extensive ex-perience with health care facilities. Lee Lewis Construction, Inc., a leading Lubbock builder also quite experienced in health care construction, was chosen as construction manager at risk.

Hickle chose a 10-acre site off Marsha Sharp Freeway, close to Texas Tech University and other major medical facilities, for the $25 million project. The first floor provides clinic space for up to 25 physicians, along with an imaging center, laboratory facility and pharmacy. The second floor houses same-day surgery and clinical procedure suites.

Doing The Research

Scott Laboratories staff conducted extensive research prior to the start of construction. They studied Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and other leading medical institutions. More than 200 doctors, nurses and patients participated in focus groups and walk-throughs of full-scale mockups, providing valuable feedback on everything from work-flow patterns to furniture and fabrics.

Patient research showed that people preferred getting all of their health care at one facility, which led to Grace Clinic’s integration of medical offices, lab, imaging center and outpatient surgery.

“Our focus is primary care. We see our highest mission as being the prevention of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Those three factors alone count for half of the deaths in the United States.”

Randy Hickle, MD, Grace Clinic

Patients also revealed that they don’t enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a clinic or hospital.

“They don’t walk through he physician’s work environment here. They meet their doctors in the exam rooms. The exam rooms and all of the areas the patients see are designed more like a hotel than a hospital or clinic.”

Randy Hickle, MD, Grace Clinic

That feeling of hospitality starts on the outside, where the goal was to be approachable and attractive, according to Kelby T. Sue, AIA, principal at Parkhill, Smith and Cooper. Much of the patient feedback came from women age 35-plus, the primary decision makers for family health care.

“We wanted something tasteful and attractive to women, while projecting the image of an up-and-coming, innovative health care delivery system.”

Kelby T. Sue, AIA, Parkhill, Smith and Cooper

The two-story, glass entry on the northeast corner softens the large structure and provides a beacon for the facility.

“Drivers traveling either direction on the adjacent highway see it. Inside, you experience the entire two-story spatial volume, with the second-floor balcony looking down into the lobby.”

Kelby T. Sue, AIA, Parkhill, Smith and Cooper

Patients are greeted at the door and escorted to the appropriate area. Warm colors, comfortable furniture and smart acoustics create a calming atmosphere in private waiting areas. Exam rooms come off a central spine that houses the clinical work areas.

A glass-lined north corridor directs patients to the exam rooms.

"The light makes a huge difference in the environment. People respond well to the infusion of natural light.”

Kelby T. Sue, AIA, Parkhill, Smith and Cooper

Designed To Fast-Track

McComb recognized immediately that Butler® building systems would work perfectly for the two-story clinic and the contemporary design.

“It is a large building—a two-story structure with some very critical steel design criteria for the second floor, plus requirements for very high R values in the roof and walls. All those factors fit well with Butler systems.”

Jim McComb, McComb Construction Co. Inc.

Plus, time was a factor. Ground was broken in late October, and the first-floor clinic and imaging areas opened November the following year. The second floor surgery unit was completed around five months later.

“That we were able to pre-purchase the Butler steel and have it ready when needed was critical. Dr. Hickle had worked on this for several years and, when he finally pulled the trigger, he wanted it done quickly,” recalls McComb.

“The schedule was particularly grueling. To open a 110,000-square-foot clinic in a year or so is a pretty daunting task.”

Chad Henthorn, Lee Lewis

The architects worked extensively with Butler engineers during the design process, even visiting Butler’s regional office in San Marcos, Texas, early in the process to work out details. “It was a really beneficial experience,” says Sue. “We had many nuances outside the norm for systems construction. Of course, we understood that Butler’s forte is systems that can go above and beyond what you can order out of the book. Their engineers were very helpful in pulling off the design.”

The preliminary designs specified an exterior treatment with some panels set in and others set out from the wall. “They called for deep metal studs with lots of insulation and EIFS (exterior insulated finish system),” says McComb. “The Koreteck® panelized building system was very cost competitive. I recommended it to the client and he loved it.”

The Koreteck system’s fully insulated, steel-core panels virtually eliminate areas for water to collect and mold to grow—an essential consideration for the clinic and a real advantage over standard EIFS. The Koreteck system could also deliver an insulation value of R-24.8.

"In north Texas, high R values for the roof and walls are very important. We also gave them an R-30 rating and a nice clean liner panel in the roof with the MR-24® standing seam roof system and ThermaLiner™ insulation system.”

Jim McComb, McComb Construction Co. Inc.

McComb arranged for Schwob Building Co., Ltd., a Dallas Butler Builder, to handle the roof installation and steel erection. “It is important to have the right erector and one with a great deal of experience, which Schwob has,” he explains.

The MR-24 roof system’s weathertight performance and Koreteck wall system’s mold resistance were ideal for a medical facility, explains Hickle.

“We have expensive equipment that can’t get wet. And the risk of mold in patient care settings isn’t an option.”

Randy Hickle, MD, Grace Clinic

Perhaps the biggest challenge was locating the operating rooms on the second floor.

“Typically, operating rooms are located on the ground floor because eliminating vibration is critical with all the instrumentation. We were able to work with the Butler engineers to ensure the vibration loads did not exceed project requirements. That they had the expertise to make that work helped tremendously.”

Chad Henthorn, Lee Lewis

Designed With A Vision

Grace Clinic is more than a one-stop shop for family health care. For Scott Laboratories, it is also a progressive learning center where medical processes and systems will be refined.

“Our celebrations will be those silent victories when prevention triumphs because one more patient doesn’t require expensive heroic measures.”

Randy Hickle, MD, Grace Clinic

It is also an approach Hickle plans to duplicate in other locations.

“We’re delighted with the building. Our patients are very satisfied with it. It’s a beautiful facility inside and out. It’s meeting our key objectives of facilitating high-quality health care in a setting that improves the patient’s experience and also provides more efficient—and therefore more cost-effective —service.”

Randy Hickle, MD, Grace Clinic