The new Southern Center for Cerebral Palsy at Rady Children’s Hospital uses animal images to ease the anxiety of patients. (Photo courtesy of Haley Hill Photography)

The new Southern Center for Cerebral Palsy at Rady Children’s Hospital uses animal images to ease the anxiety of patients. (Photo courtesy of Haley Hill Photography)

Ware Malcomb has designed a ground-breaking cerebral palsy clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital that incorporates revolutionary technology and designs.

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Brian Koshley Regional Director Ware Malcom

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Heather Moore Project Manager Ware Malcomb

“This was a complex project with unique requirements, and its success directly affects the quality of life for patients with cerebral palsy,” said Brian Koshley, regional director of Ware Malcomb's San Diego office.

 
The $10 million Southern Family Center for Cerebral Palsy at Rady Children’s Hospital was designed to provide comprehensive care in one spot for people undergoing treatment for cerebral palsy, said Heather Moore, project manager for Ware Malcomb.


The 6,400 square-foot center at 7910 Frost St. is part of a medical complex that includes Rady Children’s Hospital and Sharp Memorial Hospital.

 
Part of the space used for the clinic had been used as a physical therapy gym and the rest was unfinished.


The clinic includes 12 exam rooms ranging from 104 square feet to 141 square feet, an X-ray room, three research offices, staff workrooms, a 375-square-foot reception area, and a 1,100-square-foot motion analysis lab that is one of the few of its kind.


Happy and Pleasing


“It’s almost a one-stop shop for the patients,” Moore said. “It’s more efficient for the staff and doctors, but it’s also efficient for the patients and their family and on top of that, it’s beautiful. We’ve taken advantage of it being a children’s workshop. If there’s any excuse to help a small kid going through the anxiety of going to a doctor’s office, let’s make it happy and pleasing for them.”


The “happy and pleasing” comes partly from the animal murals scattered throughout the center.


Each of the 12 exam rooms is named for an animal and has a whimsical mural of its animal namesake at the entrance – a gorilla, hippo, rhino, horse, elephant, ostrich, giraffe, monkey, flamingo, lion and antelope.


The x-ray room in particular has a large mural depicting flamingoes.


“Getting an X-ray can be a little daunting,” said Moore, who imagined what her seven-year-old son would think if he was in that position.


“He can turn his head and look over and there’s this beautiful pink flamingo staring back at him,” Moore said.


The reception area just inside the entrance also has a large colorful mural, this one depicting all the animals that were used to designate the exam rooms.


A Dream


The motion analysis lab was designed with an elevated floor with force plates that measure how a patient steps in walking across the floor. It also has a truss system for motion capturing cameras and patient lifts in the x-ray room and patient restrooms.


Doorways at the clinic entrance and at the exam room entrances were made extra-large to accommodate wheelchairs, and most of the exam rooms are along the window line.


“We know the positive effect of sunshine on the patients,” Moore said.


To improve circulation throughout the clinic, the nurse’s station is at the very center – a design Moore said she conceived of after talking with her mother and sister, both of whom were nurses elsewhere and often complained of having to run from one spot to another to get supplies and other essentials.


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Hank Chambers Director Southern Family Center for Cerebral Palsy at Rady Children’s Hospital

Building the center fulfilled a dream for Hank Chambers, the center’s director who also is a professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at the University of California San Diego and has a son with cerebral palsy.


“We have people coming from all over the world to see this,” Chambers said.

 
Using the motion lab, doctors can develop a three-dimensional analysis of how a patient is walking. That analysis is used in determining who to proceed with surgery when it’s warranted.


Before the clinic opened at the end of 2021, patients were seen in scattered locations, depending on the treatment they received.


“It was a little fragmented,” Chambers said.


While most of the patients – about 80% are from San Diego County – Chambers said “two or three patients a week fly in from anywhere in the world.”


“It was a purpose-built place, a purpose-built clinic that just hit all of the criteria that we wanted for this population,” Chambers said, adding the center was named for the Southern family of Calgary, Canada, who contributed $5 million toward the center’s construction.


The general contractor was BNBuilders.


Ware Malcomb
Founded: 1972
CEO:  Ken Wink
Headquarters: Irvine
Business: Architectural design and engineering firm
Employees: 830+
Website: www.waremalcomb.com
Contact: 858-638-7277
Notable: With office locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, and public/institutional facilities and renovation projects.