James A. Haley Veterans Hospital Polytrauma Expansion

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Tampa, Florida, USA

The James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center is the first stop on the road to recovery for many of our nation's wounded warriors, from injuries classified as polytrauma. One of only five facilities of its type in the U.S., it is designed to help veterans and service members readjust to society and reintegrate into the community in a patient-and family-focused facility that combines all of their rehabilitation needs in one place. The two-story addition was constructed on top of the existing Spinal Cord Injury Center (SCI) at the Tampa Veterans' Affairs Medical Center campus.

An integral part of the holistic rehabilitation and recovery process, the interior environment fosters healing by including features such as abundant light, natural vegetation and water features in a soothing  pallet—a design inspired by the colors and textures of the Florida landscape, representing freedom, strength and renewal. 

Responding to a new type of patient requires new care models and a special facility adapted for this severely injured patient—forever transforming this care for our nation's heroes. In the inpatient unit, home-like, private patient rooms mimic the warmth and comfort of a house, while also including the extra room and patient lifts needed, and are grouped together in "neighborhoods" with "porches." Bringing the outdoors inside, patient and family spaces are designed to feel more residential and less institutional with light-filled day rooms, an atrium "town center" with storefronts and outdoor café seating, a "main street," complete with palm trees, and an exterior deck for patients and their families to socialize and relax. 

The center helps veterans recover by providing inpatient and outpatient services, smaller staff-to-patient ratios with open and accessible nurse stations in each six-room patient neighborhood, and family and recreation spaces to ensure families are intimately involved in the patient's recovery. To make it convenient for the patient, doctors come together in the neighborhood to collaborate on treatment, rather than requiring wounded veterans to travel around the hospital for each treatment.

The Polytrauma Center includes 56 private inpatient rooms, a therapeutic climbing wall, an aquatic center including a treadmill therapy pool, a virtual reality simulation center and a private outdoor recreational courtyard that includes a multi-surface mobility training area, basketball court, and a putting green.


  • 2010 Un-built Design Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Florida Chapter