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THE VISION: 1000 BEDS
The hospital these men wanted to build was by no means modest. Early promotional materials speak of a complex that would eventually comprise 1,000 hospital beds, including a multi-story general hospital and separate "pavilions" for neuropsychiatric cases, "tuberculosis, chronic and convalescent cases," and "all isolation cases including polio and other diseases which may possibly become epidemic." They foresaw a school of nursing, recreation courts, and facilities for housing resident physicians and interns.
The bulk of these facilities would be to the north of the property so that a natural buffer of planting would shield patients from the view of the cemetery. The hospital would be so designed that patient rooms would not overlook the bustling entrance court on the north side of the building.
Dr. Gould worked closely with Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson (known today as The NBBJ Group, the award-winning Seattle architectural firm) on preliminary sketches for Community Memorial Hospital. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Gould insisted that every floor should be provided with open sunlit areas. He thought people should be made as comfortable and as happy as possible during their stay in the hospital, and, indeed, his ideas about patient-room views and landscaping were for the most part carried out in the final design of the hospital. While he appreciated medical technology, he believed very strongly that people recover more quickly when they're in a less sterile-looking environment, where interior colors are warm and cheerful and where every room looks out to trees and rhododendrons. He personally marked trees that should be saved (the architects moved the building 15 feet to accommodate some of them!) and was there when the property was bulldozed to make sure the trees were saved.
Dr. Gould was also concerned that the architects consider civil defense in their design and criticized a plan showing operating rooms on the fourth floor. The surgery suites must be at the very bottom of the building to provide the maximum protection from bomb blasts. It wouldn't do much good to have surgical facilities in the North End if they, too, were destroyed during an enemy attack.
Fortunately, Dr. Gould and his colleagues were wrong about enemy attack. They were right about something else, although they could not have known that their discussions prefigured the Northwest Tumor Institute, a cooperative effort with Swedish Hospital that brought radiation treatment to the North End for the first time. Back in 1950, the physicians were debating how large the radiology department should be, and decided that the space allocated by the architects was 25 percent too small, "especially ... since this hospital intends to install a tumor clinic. The set-up at Swedish which now exists is extremely cramped," meeting minutes declared. Had they been able to see into the future, they would have seen Northwest Hospital acquire technology they couldn't even imagine in 1950 -and a distinguished reputation for innovative and comprehensive cancer care, too.
Naturally, no one on the board expected to build this multi-million dollar extravaganza in 1950. They would start, they thought, with a 220-bed, $3.5 million hospital.
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