Project Description


Discreet building services for a hospital geared to families

When Sanford Health decided to build a new hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, it set out to improve the range of medical services available in the region. But more than that, it wanted a facility that would make the hospital experience as good as it possibly could be both for patients and their loved ones.

Sanford Fargo - Exterior

Elevated Helipad

The result is the 384-bed Sanford Fargo Medical Center, which opened in 2016. It brings top-level trauma services to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, as well as a wide range of medical services from orthopedics to heart surgery. The 11-storey, Gothic-style facility includes an emergency department, plus neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, connected to an elevated helipad via a dedicated trauma elevator. The facility also includes 36 inpatient and outpatient operating rooms.

Providing Comfortable Environment to Patients

Every detail of the design and layout has been selected with the patient – and visitor – in mind. Housed in the building’s four towers, all patient rooms enjoy clear views, as well as sofa beds for additional guests and zones for families to store belongings and charge devices. Warm colors have been chosen to make patients feel at home, and every floor has a quiet zone to provide visitors with a place of retreat.

A stunning 10th-floor birthing center aims to give new mothers the best possible start, with striking views, hot tubs and a spa. And even the supply cupboards are specially designed to maximize peace and privacy, with doors to allow restocking from hallways.

Sanford Fargo Medical Center- Aerial view

Central Plant Acts as Drop-Off Point for Deliveries

WSP contributed to this patient-centered approach with a building services design that minimizes unwanted disruption. The facility is served by a central utility plant housed in a separate building, which also acts as a drop-off point for deliveries. Electric carts are used to move supplies to the main hospital along a connecting utility tunnel.

The plant itself contains back-up diesel generators with capacity to power the entire hospital for three days, reducing the facility’s dependency on the grid. Two 160-ton heat pump chillers provide heat recovery energy savings during the entire year. Hospital efficiency is also boosted by a pneumatic tube system installed to transport waste and dirty linen around the site quickly and hygienically.

Quick Facts

Location Fargo, North Dakota, USA
Client Sanford Health
Architect HKS 
Services Building services
Fire protection
Project Status Completed 2016