Epstein provided architecture, interior design, civil, structural and MEP engineering, and LEED consulting services for the renovation of Building 13 at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois.

Building 13, which was originally designed in 1929 as a Nurses' Quarters, is an existing 29,490 gross square foot building that was renovated in 1971 as clinical space for blind rehabilitation. The Epstein-designed renovation now provides outpatient mental health counseling space primarily for veterans returning from service in the Middle East. The scope of work for this facility featured gut demolition of all interior walls and systems, asbestos and lead abatement, construction of new interiors, a new HVAC system, data and telecom, and window replacement.

The renovation of Building 13 provides improved interior space for the PRRC (Psychosocial Rehab & Recovery Center), MHICM (Mental Health Intensive Case Management), and CWT (Compensated Work Therapy) programs along with an office for the Veterans Advocacy Council.

While this facility’s primary focus is on the PRRC program, the building itself is seen as an enhancement for all veterans, staff and visitors. In addition to standard programs provided by the VA, the renovation affords the opportunity for outside groups to utilize the facility after regular hours. The space also gives veterans a welcoming environment in which to socialize and relax.

Epstein’s designers and engineers have also incorporated additional sustainable design features including a wind turbine and a geothermal system for the mechanical systems.

The design team was focused on energy savings within the renovation project by significantly enhancing the insulation value of the existing envelope in conjunction with the highly efficient ground-source heat pump system. Lighting was selected based on appropriate light levels, individual control, and high efficacy sources (lumens delivered per watt of energy input) to minimize the energy use within the building. In addition, material selections that deliver a hospitality feeling while simultaneously communicating sustainability were analyzed and selected for least cost solutions.

The integrated Epstein project team achieved a LEED-NC Gold rating for this renovation.