WVUM expands reach with retail-to-healthcare location

WVU Medicine’s Camden Clark Medical Center had a need to expand its services to the underserved area of south Parkersburg, West Virginia, for a while. But they needed a space.

A former Big Lots building in the Southgate Shopping Center turned out to be an ideal location. With many big-box stores shuttering due to online commerce, a recent trend has seen healthcare groups transforming these spaces into outpatient clinics, ambulatory centers and more. Former retail spaces offer many things healthcare needs – visibility, accessibility, ample parking – and these large shell spaces are essentially a clean slate for design. They are also more cost-effective than building new and construction time is quicker, allowing these facilities to serve communities sooner.

The empty storefront in the Southgate Shopping Center met all those needs for WVU Medicine. And there was even room for additional expansion. The health group’s new, 25,000 sf clinic – Southgate Medical Complex – offers primary and urgent care, diagnostics, lab services, podiatry and pediatrics. As former retail, the space was originally constructed with an open floor plan to maximize square footage. Because of this, the Hafer team was able to work with WVU Medicine to create a new layout that incorporates all the programming they desired.

The goal for the exterior was for it to no longer resemble a traditional retail storefront, which was achieved with the addition of wood-grain metal panel facade, stone detail and a drive-through awning. The inside was transformed into a comfortable, yet healing healthcare environment with exam rooms, offices, nurse stations and rooms for x-ray and EKG/ultrasound. Neutral colors, natural finishes and WVUM branding complete the space. New HVAC systems provide for energy efficiency, ease of maintenance and improved air quality. Plumbing and electrical systems were also updated.

With these additional services now established on the south side of Parkersburg, WVU Medicine is well positioned to reach an underserved population with much needed healthcare services. In addition, a vacant building that could have sat empty for years now has new life in the community thanks to this adaptive reuse project.

Future expansion is expected at the new medical complex.

Learn more about this project and see additional photos here. For information on healthcare design, contact Director of Healthcare Design Vince Martin, AIA.