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DCD Design Cost Data

PrairieCare Medical Group/Behavioral Health


Posted: December 28, 2021 | Projects

PrairieCare Medical Group isn’t your ordinary medical practice: The Minnesota organization specializes in behavioral and mental health services, with an emphasis on children and adolescents. It opened its 10th facility in Rochester, Minnesota in late 2019, with a design that’s equally unique. A primary emphasis is on providing plentiful natural daylight, is made evident from the front façade’s extensive glazing. To frame the glazing and add some calming counterpoint to that elevation’s pattern and color, designers opted for neutraltoned metal flush and relief wall panels installed in a vertical arrangement that echoes the curtain wall’s mullions. 

Photo Courtesy of John Mgnoski

This combinat ion of lightness and solidity was on the minds of the project’s architects from the beginning. “Throughout the design process, one of our challenges was trying to strike the balance between the need for a safe and secure facility for patients and staff, while providing a welcoming, comfortable environment that promotes healing and well-being,” explains Seth Behrends, AIA, project architect and senior associate with the Minneapolis office of the building’s design firm, HGA. He adds that PrairieCare is on the leading edge in terms of behavioral health and there really isn't a historical model that meets their spacial needs. This, in turn, fostered a collaborative back-and-forth with the client to develop a truly custom design solution to best support their practice. 

The vertical metal panels are paired with horizontal courses of woodgrain-patterned aluminum panels in a bright terra cotta finish to highlight the two front entrances, with fiber cement panels, also installed horizontally, in a mixed pattern of neutral grays and creams between the two doorways. “We wanted to give the impression of a contemporary, warm, welcoming facility — that it wasn’t a building trapped in a historic typology,” Behrends says. 

For the vertical panels, HGA opted for Petersen’s Flush and Reveal Wall Panels, in both 7- and 11-inch widths. The .032-gauge aluminum panels were installed in a double-height arrangement and feature a Weathered Zinc finish. This variety was intended to add visual depth and eliminate any feeling of flatness or thinness. 

“We ran through a series of studies looking at different ways to deploy the different widths, and how those patterns would translate between the upper and lower volumes,” Behrends adds, explaining how the final pattern came to be. “Ultimately, we landed on a repeating pattern that appeared random but could be clearly communicated to the installers.” 

Behrends says his team worked through some of the design details in-house and then ran them past both Petersen’s experts and the installation pros with Burnsville, Minnesota-based Innovative Building Concepts. “We had a couple rounds of shop drawing reviews to be comfortable with the width and edges of the two profiles,” he says, noting the collegial effort that prevailed during the project. “Throughout, all parties involved were on a very tight timeframe. It was an extremely positive, collaborative process, with the contractors and subcontractors and companies like Petersen.” 

The clock was ticking from the moment HGA started work, with the client having less than a calendar year before their existing lease was set to expire. The aggressive schedule began in January, which ended up being the coldest month in the area in 26 years, while February received the most snow on record. March continued the pattern, with the highest rainfall on record. But to Pat Sweeney, Innovative Building Concepts’ co-owner and field superintendent, those three months were just par for the course in his home state. 

“It’s Minnesota, it’s winter; you don’t like it, wait five minutes and it will be different,” he says. “It’s crazy the extremes — we go from −30° below to 100° plus.” 

In the end, the building team, which also included Knutson Construction of Rochester, Minnesota, met their deadlines and, more importantly, their client’s expectations. “We’re very pleased with how it came out, and the client has been very pleased with the facility,” Behrends says. “From a programmatic and design standpoint, all I’ve heard are very positive things about the project.” 

Sweeney is in full agreement with this upbeat assessment. “Everybody’s happy with it,” he says. “That’s what we strive for — a happy customer.” 

HGA 202 1st Avenue SW  
Rochester, MN 55902 

Structural/Mechanical/Electrical/Civil Engineer 
202 1st Avenue SW 
Rochester, MN 55902 

General Contractor & Cost Estimator 
Knutson Construction 
5985 Bandel Road, NW 
Rochester, MN 55901 

Landscape Architect 
202 1st Avenue SW 
Rochester, MN 55902 

Location: Rochester, Minnesota 
Date Bid: Nov 2018 
Construction Period: Jan 2019 to Oct 2019 
Site: 3.38 acres. 
Total Square Feet: 37,029 
Building Sizes: First floor, 23,735; second floor, 13,294; total, 37,029 square feet. 
Building Height: First floor, 14'4"; second floor, 14'4"; floor to floor, 14'4"; total, 30'. 
Number of Buildings: One. 
Basic Construction Type: New/IIB/Structural Steel 
Foundation: Slab-on-grade. 
Exterior Walls: Curtain wall, metal panel, fiber cement panel. 
Roof: Membrane. 
Floors: Concrete. 
Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall. 

Click here to view the full cost details for this project in the January/February 2022 issue of DCD