Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Arkansas Children’s recently opened Southwest Little Rock Community Clinic offers a wealth of pediatric resources in a setting that’s welcoming to both the smallest of patients and their families
Nestled in a wooded area near the neighborhood police station and post office, the bright façade of Arkansas Children’s Southwest Little Rock Community Clinic doesn’t have the appearance of a typical doctor’s office—and that’s because it’s not. The individual-focused clinic is a close-to-home medical center where children of all ages can be seen for everything from a well-child visit to X-rays on potentially injured limbs to in-house lab work and results. “At the hospital [in downtown Little Rock] we have a lot of outpatient and general primary care services. This clinic is part of our response to bringing that level of care into the communities,” says Kim Prescott, design manager with the Planning Design & Construction department at Arkansas Children’s.
It’s not just the exterior that speaks to visitors; the building’s interiors are equally engaging and welcoming. To ensure the end result would evoke this feeling, the design team met with a patient and physician advisory board prior to starting the build to learn what features, colors, and amenities would help visitors feel most comfortable and create the best environment for work and for care.
In her role, Kim ensures the branding and primary values of Arkansas Children’s are carried throughout all of their facilities, noting there’s a focus on familiarity, natural light, and ease of use at this clinic. “A lot of the concepts here are new for us and some were existing. We are hoping to merge all of the design elements, so when you enter an Arkansas Children’s facility, be it here, the Little Rock hospital, or our new campus in Northwest Arkansas, you have a similar experience and you recognize that branding. However, our biggest goal is to make sure our patients are taken care of,” Kim says. Read on to learn more about how the clinic and its design are unique to kids and this community.
Above: Physicians on the advisory board asked specifically for bench-style seating that can accommodate both parent and child and even a baby carrier, making it easy to talk with a family in the exam room.
“We wanted a rainbow of colors; we were not going to be a vanilla facility. We are a children’s facility, and it needs to be fun and bright for all ages,” Kim says of the cheerful palette. Child-sized tables and colorful benches provide comfortable seating, while petite animal-shaped furniture offers a perch for children who are feeling up to trying out a more playful option. “The animal furniture has been a big hit,” Kim says with a smile. “They scoot them around like cars and cluster them together in front of the TV, and sometimes I even see kids riding them down the hallway.”
Upon entering, patients check in on large television touchscreens. From there, color-coded walkways lead to different areas. For example, orange walkways and stations indicate staff areas, while blue leads to restrooms.
Additionally, the clinic has the capability to do almost all the same lab work and exams as the hospital. “We don’t have to send patients back to the hospital to get an X-ray or have something removed from their ear. We can do it all here, which is part of our mission: ‘Care close to home,’” says Catherine Robinson, executive director of children’s specialty service at Arkansas Children’s.
Above: All of the furniture in the facility is upholstered in a coated material that won’t absorb stains and can easily wipe clean. Colorful patterns, a fairly new option in this type of material, play into the bright design.
As noted, the clinic is located in an area that is already a hub for service-oriented businesses and offices. While anyone, not just those who live in southwest Little Rock, can visit the clinic, there are services geared toward making it beneficial for its location. For example, there is a large Spanish-speaking population in the area, thus bilingual physicians and staff are a key factor in ensuring communication flows smoothly and patients and parents feel comfortable as they discuss healthcare solutions. Additionally, many staff members, including the onsite financial counselor, live in the neighborhood—meaning friendly faces abound when patients walk through the doors, thus adding to the clinic’s mission of being a true community resource.
Arkansas Children’s Design Team of Record Architect and interior design Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects Civil engineer McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc. Furniture Today’s Office, Inc. General contractor Nabholz Construction Landscape architect Landscape Architecture, Inc. MEPFP engineer Architectural Engineering Consultants, LLC Structural engineer Live Oak Engineering, Inc.