Mary Greeley Medical Center Interiors


Mary Greeley Medical Center was growing – not only in the number of patients it treats each year, but in the number of services it provides and the number of healthcare technologies it offers.

Mary Greeley Medical Center wanted to improve healthcare delivery, enhance public image, and improve access and wayfinding. The building needed to expand to better serve the healthcare needs of central Iowans.


Shive-Hattery met with medical center employees at all levels – from physicians to dietary services staff – to assess their needs and learn more about what they hoped the project would accomplish.

As a result, a new six-story tower was constructed on the west end of the main building, along with a two-story addition to the existing west wing. The bottom two floors of the new tower feature administrative and facility areas designed for increased efficiency. Departments that work closely together throughout the day are now located near one another instead of spread throughout the medical center.

Floors three through five of the six-story tower feature 124 patient rooms that are nearly 70 square feet bigger than the existing rooms. Patient bathrooms offer an additional 57 square feet of space, with wide doorways, zero-entry showers, and other universal design features. Adding more square footage made room for new technology in patient rooms, and improved comfort levels for patients, family, and staff.

Each patient room was designed with three distinct areas: a workspace for medical staff, a patient area, and a family area.

The patient area features a customized nurse call system that allows patients to send specific messages regarding their needs. A flat-screen monitor on the wall allows staff to display information so the patient can follow along. Each room also incorporates a computer next to the bed so staff can maintain eye contact while accessing electronic records during discussions with patients.

To create a calming, spa-like atmosphere, muted colors were chosen after Shive-Hattery conducted research to identify palettes that contribute to the feeling of a healing environment. Curved hallways and natural lighting make corridors feel welcoming and relaxing. Intuitive signage and wayfinding systems help patients, visitors, and staff navigate their way through the medical center.

All aspects of the addition and renovation incorporated a sustainable approach when possible, from how materials were removed from the jobsite to the new interior finishes that were used. As a Silver LEED-certified building, interior materials with no or low VOCs were selected. The carpet and ceramic tile include recycled content and can be recycled when they’re removed.


Creating distinct areas within Mary Greeley Medical Center’s patient rooms minimizes disruption, improves staff efficiency, and helps family members stay comfortable during visits.

The 220-bed medical center is now set up to provide high-tech healthcare in a patient-centered environment that focuses on quiet, rest, and healing. With its additional space, Mary Greeley Medical Center can accommodate growth while better serving the healthcare needs of the people in central Iowa.
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