Siblings Julie Highton-Snedeker and Gary Highton don’t mind a bit when they get in the car and travel from Tucson to Wickenburg for meetings. In fact, they’ve been doing it on a fairly consistent basis since 2003 when they first contracted their services to Wickenburg Community Hospital. That was the year WCH converted its patients rooms from semi-private to private rooms.
“There’s almost no part of the hospital we haven’t renovated,” Julie said. In 2005 their firm, Highton Company, redesigned a new front entrance, facing Bralliar Road rather than Rose Lane. They were also behind changing the skilled nursing facility to a fitness center and several other modifications over the years.
Now, they are the architects working two projects which encompass more than 20,000 square feet of improvements to the hospital, the first of which is a 10,500 square foot surgical/diagnostic center adjoining the current hospital. The second is a 10,700 square foot medical office building which will adjoin the present clinic on Rose Lane.
Julie said their familiarity with the design and materials in the current buildings helped them tie the projects together. The exterior on both buildings will look similar to the adjoining structures; however the current technology available in building products will make them “extremely energy efficient.”
The exterior will have a “rustic, cowboy look” which will continue inside with a theme of leather and earthy desert tones, she said. One special interior feature in the surgical center will be stained glass inserts designed by local artists. The medical office building will house 18 new exam rooms, and a courtyard will be placed between the two clinical buildings.
“We want this to be a wonderful experience for patients, visitors and staff,” she said.
In addition to energy efficient building materials, Gary said much care has gone into the conservation of energy in the lighting of the larger campus. Due to dark sky ordinances, parking lot lighting will be LED and will be forced downward, and natural light will be better utilized throughout the buildings.
Throughout their experience with WCH, the Highton Company team has developed quite an affection for Wickenburg. “We really love it here. We thoroughly love the culture of the little cowboy town,” Julie said.
Gary commented that town government has been “great to work with,” and a big part of the reason the project has remained on schedule.
Published originally in The Wickenburg Sun | Written by Jeanie Williams Editor Wickenburg Sun