Vanderbilt University Hospital lobby opens after total renovationFeb. 21, 2023, 4:34 PM
by John Howser
Gone are the cobblestone red brick floors and dark walls, along with the gold-plated floor-to-ceiling fixture dominating the center of the former space. Now, Vanderbilt University Hospital’s (VUH) grand lobby and atrium features two bright and spacious new floors with gleaming white walls, as well as smooth, white and gray terrazzo tile floors. The new space is complete with ample seating, attractive artwork and wooden architectural accents throughout.
After a multiyear effort, renovation is complete for the lobby, one of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s most heavily trafficked destinations serving hundreds of patients and families each day. The new space will open Feb. 25.
With the multiphase renovation wrapped up, VUH’s new entranceway and guest waiting areas befit its status as Tennessee’s and the Southeast’s No. 1 hospital. Medical Admitting, Guest Services and the medical and surgical waiting areas have new amenities that are more accommodating for patients, families and employees. Through renovation, the lobby’s new space on level two becomes the surgical waiting area while the first floor will serve patients admitted for medical services.
As the new lobby opens, the temporary waiting area in Light Hall will close and transition for future use.
“The VUH lobby is a focal point, effectively the front door of our institution. We want to provide our patients and families, along with all others who visit our campus, with the best experience. This attractive renovation, which was made possible through the generosity of Michelle and Lyle Finley and our Inaugural Board of Directors, now reflects our status as a world leader in health care, offering our visitors a welcoming experience,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Prior to renovation, the lobby had remained essentially the same as it was in 1980 as VUH opened, having undergone a few revisions over the years. This total transformation repurposes more than 20,000 square feet of space to create a more functional and aesthetically pleasing environment.
To better accommodate the technology needs of today’s visitors, additional electrical wall and floor outlets were incorporated throughout, along with contemporary furniture with built-in power ports. In addition, each floor will have a work bar with ample power ports.
The makeover includes a new front entranceway into the lobby that better organizes traffic flow. Another new feature is a large digital display board on each floor that is strategically located for maximum visibility.
The renovation was made possible by the generosity of Mrs. Michelle Finley and Mr. Lyle Finley, and through gifts from all members of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Inaugural Board of Directors: Mrs. Edie Carell Johnson (Board Chair) and Mr. David B. Johnson; Dr. Jeffrey R. Balser and Mrs. Melinda S. Balser; Mr. Bruce Evans and Mrs. Bridgitt Evans; Dr. Michael M.E. Johns and Mrs. Trina Johns; Dr. Richard B. Johnston, Jr., and Dr. Mary Anne C. Johnston; Dr. Samuel E. Lynch and Dr. Leslie Wisner-Lynch; Mr. Jackson W. Moore; Dr. David Wayne Patterson and Dr. Melda Isaac; Mr. Thomas J. Sherrard III and Mrs. Dana D. Sherrard; Mr. John Stein and Mrs. Beth Stein; Vanderbilt University Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos and Ms. Lydia A. Howarth.
The lobby’s renovation was accomplished through a three-phase plan. Before construction began inside VUH, the second-floor lobby of Medical Center East underwent renovation, including relocation of the hospital’s gift shop. After a delay caused by the pandemic, the second floor of Light Hall was converted into a temporary waiting area, allowing construction on the lobby to begin in January 2022.
The Medical Center’s longtime architectural firm, Blair + Mui Dowd Architects of New York, prepared the design for all phases of the lobby’s renovation. VUMC’s Department of Planning, Design and Construction oversaw completion of this project.
“This renovation has been a priority for some time. However, due to its complexity, and a lack of alternative space appropriate to serve such an important function, we had to wait until the pandemic subsided so that Light Hall could be converted from a mass vaccination site to be used for family waiting. We hope everyone will be pleased with the results,” said John F. Manning Jr., PhD, MBA, Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Chief of Staff.
“I want to express my appreciation to Blair + Mui Dowd for their creative approach to repurposing this space and to our own Department of Planning, Design and Construction for their careful stewardship during a complex design and construction process.”