The recent modernization of a local hospital in Vinita, Oklahoma, a small town in the northeastern part of the state, sets an encouraging example for enhancing the delivery of comprehensive healthcare services to rural communities. Oklahoma is frequently cited among the worst states in the nation for the quality of its healthcare systems, particularly in rural areas, with a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund noting that the state ranks 49th in healthcare access and affordability. As a result, the grand opening of the renovated Saint Francis Hospital Vinita was cause for a lively celebration in the historic community of Vinita and Craig County, known as the “Gateway to Green Country.”

Access to Healthcare: Helping Communities Thrive

The hospital opened in 1963. Despite diligent efforts through the years to maintain and upgrade the facility to stay current with modern healthcare trends and technology, the hospital struggled with funding. The last major addition was completed in 1999. In recent years, the hospital has been in dire need of a modernization to meet the latest codes and support current diagnostic, treatment, and patient care needs. In 2016, the hospital was sold to the Saint Francis Health System, which immediately set out to renovate the 56,000-square-foot facility.

While our healthcare team is fortunate to be able to design major hospital projects all over the country, we appreciate the opportunity to assist rural communities with vitally needed healthcare facility projects such as the Saint Francis Hospital Vinita modernization. We understand how important it is for rural communities to have convenient access to high-quality healthcare in order to thrive. Projects such as these put all of our skills in architecture and engineering to the test, as we explore approaches to renovate and update facilities and systems while meeting client needs for budgets and schedules. For this project, we also welcomed the opportunity to continue our work for the Oklahoma-based Saint Francis Health System, whom we have served since the 1960s.

The modernization included a new entryway, improving access and visibility.

Enhancing Efficiency, Functionality, and Flow

One of the most transformative aspects of this project involved our recommendation to relocate the main entrance and lobby. This has improved the hospital’s visibility within the community while also enhancing access, security, administration, and patient flow. We updated all 15 of the patient rooms, converting them from semi-private to private. We updated the nursing station and modernized the medical suites to meet current codes and improve functionality. We also made significant improvements to the kitchen and dining areas. All of the work was completed within the existing facility footprint, another interesting challenge as we sought to optimize hospital operations and create a more modern environment.

A welcoming lobby has improved services and circulation.

Saint Francis Hospital Vinita has always offered compassionate, patient-focused care to local residents. Now, the community is able to continue to benefit from healthcare services that are close to home, in a facility that supports the latest in medical diagnosis, treatment, and patient care.

The patient rooms were converted from semi-private to private.


Amenities were upgraded in each of the patient rooms.