Parrish Health and Fitness

Hospital environments can be stale, especially when it comes to motivating individuals to participate in an exercise program. So when designing the Parrish Health and Fitness facility to house its hospital-based health and fitness program, the focus was on creating a relaxing environment that would encourage social interaction. The result was a 38,500-square-foot facility with a park-like, social atmosphere that has doubled membership, involved the community and been heralded by the mayor as one of the finest new buildings in the city.

Opened on March 1, 1997, the facility features a glass-enclosed design to maximize the clients’ view of the park-like landscaped campus from each area of the building, as well as to allow an abundance of light to flood the interior. Mirrors opposite the large glass walls reflect and enhance the exterior views. Complementing the design and layout of the facility, says senior vice president of medical center development Christopher Male, is the creation of a color palette of contemporary pastel colors to create a relaxing environment after an exercise or therapy session.

To encourage socializing, a central spine leads all corridors to the client social area located in the middle of the facility. The social area was designed with only one wall and three sides to provide views of the cardiovascular area and entrance to the aquatic center.

“This supports the program’s intent of making the facility not only an exciting place to exercise, but an environment conducive for social interaction,” says Male.

As of August 1, 1997, there were 3,100 members ranging in age from 14 to 85, up from the 1,750 members in February 1997. And the waiting list continues to grow. The facility has also succeeded in involving non-members in the community. “Whether a member or not, the community is invited to make use of the track and [it] has become a much appreciated addition to the neighborhood where exercise and social interaction can occur” says Male.