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Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

This women’s and infant’s renovation project created an opportunity to physically connect two organizations with shared goals: The Froedtert Hospital Birth Center and the Children’s Wisconsin Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Previously segregated departments were expanded, redesigned (both operationally and physically) and brought together into 161,370 square feet of space on six different interconnected floor plates.

The renovated NICU is a 70-bed unit (organized in six pods), converted from traditional wards into Single Family Rooms.  This is the only connected Birth Center and level IV NICU in Wisconsin.  The NICU cares for over 700 patients each year.

There are several design innovations within the new facility:

  • Migration from a ward style NICU to a Single Family Room model, allowing for better control of light, sound, and temperature, all crucial in the care of NICU babies.
  • The NICU patient rooms have custom headwalls, outfitted with LED twinkle lights connected to sound sensors. In a quiet state, the lights glow a soft white, but as the sound in the room increases the lights change from white to yellow to red, reminding families and visitors to be quiet.
  • The NICU contains a state-of-the-art Milk Kitchen. This Milk Kitchen is a central place for the preparation and storage of mother’s milk.
  • Improved wayfinding to the department entry and welcoming front doors to the NICU.
  • Color changing lights at the handwashing sink at the NICU entry show care providers and visitors how long they should wash their hands.
  • Clear on-stage and off-stage circulation patterns within the NICU.

The aesthetic goals for the NICU renovation was to achieve a comforting, warm, hospitable environments.  Children’s Wisconsin has active standards for material selections, however flexibility was allowed in the development of palettes.

Colors were used carefully to reinforce wayfinding concepts.  “Neighborhoods” in the NICU are designated by color and animal characters.

See this project featured in Healthcare Design Magazine’s Healthcare Showcase.

Location: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Size: 60,000 s.f.

Services Provided: Architectural Planning and Design, Structural, Interior Design

Contractor / Construction Manager: Boldt Construction

Steve Raasch, AIA, LEED-AP, EDAC

Steve Raasch, AIA, LEED-AP, EDAC

Executive Vice President | Director of Healthcare Facilities Planning

More Information >

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Project Manager