BERLIN — Worcester County students presented their award-winning design for a new emergency department waiting room to representatives of Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) last Friday.
Having taken the top prize in Maryland, the design will now be competing at the national level.
A community partnership project, the re-design was a collaboration between Worcester Technical High School’s (WTHS) Biomedical Science and Pre-Engineering programs. A total of 18 students took part in the program, 16 from Biomedical and two from Pre-Engineering. The cumulative idea for a new emergency department waiting room included improvements such as bamboo flooring, modular furniture, a skylight pyramid, a green roof and separate patient waiting zones for the sick, injured and outpatients.
There was an emphasis on combating germs with the furniture being antimicrobial and the skylight allowing germicidal UV light into the area. Additionally, the layout of the room was planned in such a way that there would be more privacy and better direct access from area to area.
The green roof proposed by students would be truly green and include plants and a miniature pool. The idea was to provide another relaxing space for patients to visit while recovering. It was modeled after the existing courtyard.
Working with such a huge collaboration was an incredible experience, according to WTHS student Angelia Talley. Talley is enrolled in the Biomedical Science program and told the audience at last week’s presentation that she finds it deeply rewarding.
“This program has given all of us the opportunity to peruse different medical careers in the real world through internships, and has also given a way to sort of refine our ideas on what we want to do with our lives,” she said.
Other students in both Biomedical and Pre-Engineering echoed Talley. It’s a common philosophy shared by many at the school, said Caroline Bloxom, principal for WTHS.
“I just want to say that career and technology education, I think, is having a fantastic renewal,” she said. “With all of the efforts now for students who graduate from our high schools to be both college and career ready, I think you see that here with these students.”
That readiness has already translated into outside acclaim in the form of a $20,000 award from the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. WTHS was awarded the top prize in Maryland and is now moving on to compete for $140,000 nationally.
“They went up against 2,500 applications and came out as the sole winner,” said Bloxom.
Besides any prizes, which will be used to bolster programs at WTHS, the collaboration has provided immeasurable experience for the 18 seniors, continued Bloxom.
“I think that this project, this collaboration with AGH, has taken us a step even above internships,” she said.
Bloxom thanked AGH management and CEO/President Michael Franklin for allowing students access to the hospital and for being supportive throughout.
“It’s a good design, it really is,” said Franklin. “It is a much better design than what we have.”
Lou Taylor, assistant superintendent for administration in Worcester, was in a unique position to offer feedback as he also sits on AGH’s board of directors.
“I wear two hats in here today, obviously as a member of the Board of Trustees here at the hospital and working for the school system,” he said. “From the school system standpoint, again, impressive is a minor word in this process. Not only what you did today and we were able to see but how you represented it as our students and the way you spoke.”
The students sent a collective thanks to Tracy Hunter and Valerie Ziglejeva, WTHS’ instructors of Biomedical Science and Pre-Engineering, respectively.
As AGH looks to remodel their emergency department waiting room in the future, the students hope that the hospital may choose to incorporate some or all of their recommendations into the physical renovations.