Rebuilding New Orleans
Nine years after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, city officials have opened doors to a totally renovated hospital in Orleans Parish, one of the city’s hardest-hit regions. Named New Orleans East Hospital, the full-service clinic offers medical services to 77,000 residents on the city’s growing east side. By the end of 2014, government officials expect the area to reach 98,000 residents.
William A. Murray, FCSI, owner of Murray Corban Consultants, Vidalia, La., came onboard September 2011 to design the hospital’s 2,900-sq.-ft. main kitchen and 1,300-sq.-ft. retail dining area. His top project goal was to design an efficient foodservice operation that easily could support the projected number of patients, staff and visitors at its opening as well as in the future when the once-destroyed area repopulates.
“Right now, the foodservice facilities serve an 80-bed facility, but, in time, the operation can accommodate 300 beds with the addition of equipment and expansion of the patient-tray makeup area,” Murray says.
When restoring the six-story hospital, architects moved the foodservice department from one spot to another on the ground level. Murray had to completely reconstruct the facilities while working within the constraints of an existing footprint.
At the heart of his design was the main kitchen with several areas: cold and dry storage, cold prep, cooking, patient-tray makeup, pot and pan washing and cart and dishwashing areas.
“Food comes in the back door, and it’s a straight shot to the dry and refrigerated storage, so deliveries don’t interfere with any operation in the kitchen,” Murray says.
He placed the cold prep and cooking areas directly across from storage for easy access. From the cooking space, staff either sends prepared bulk food to the patient-tray makeup area or out a convenient pass-through window connected to the retail dining area.
Key equipment at the cold prep station includes a Robot Coupe food processor, Waring blender and Globe slicer for deli meats. In the cooking area, staff uses a Groen tilt skillet; Vulcan charbroiler, range and convection oven; Rational combi oven-steamer; and Dean fryer/filter system to produce menu items.
One way Murray designed the kitchen for future growth was by specifying a full-flood hood system, manufactured by Greenheck, above the cooking equipment. Instead of outfitting each piece of equipment with a separate overhead spray nozzle for the fire suppression system, he chose the full-flood design; in the event of a fire, the hood will spray water on any piece of equipment underneath the canopy.
“The design kept us from having to go back and revise the spray-nozzle locations as more equipment gets added to the cookline,” Murray explains. “Equipment can be located anywhere under the canopy, and it will pass inspections by local fire officials.”
Additionally, Murray left space throughout the kitchen for future equipment purchases, including a blast chiller, 60-qt. mixer and second combi oven. “Those are bulk production items, and they’ll let the volume of the serving area and patient load dictate purchasing that equipment," he says.
Murray’s attention to kitchen flow also is evident in his design of the efficient patient-tray makeup area.
From the cold prep and cooking areas, staffers load pans of prepared bulk food into a Continental heated cabinet for hot entrees or a Continental refrigerator for cold entrees, both of which are pass-through units.
On the other side stands one of two employees running a tray-makeup pod system. The first tray-makeup employee pulls pans of food from the hot cabinet and puts them into the pod’s hot food table. Cold food product goes into a Victory air-curtain refrigerator or a Carter-Hoffmann ice-cream cabinet. Grabbing a plate from the Lakeside self-leveling, heated plate dispenser, the tray assembler organizes all of the hot meal elements and hands the plate to the tray finisher, also standing at the pod.
The tray finisher places plates on trays, pulled from an Aladdin Temp-Rite self-leveling tray dispenser, and adds beverages, desserts or other extras. After completing the order, the finisher loads the tray into a Caddy Corp. cart for running to patient floors, accessible by a service elevator.
“Pods are quick and cut down on the number of people putting together each tray, so if there’s a problem with an order or a question about a patient’s diet, there’re only one or two people to ask,” Murray says.
Currently, the facility relies on one pod but, by moving mobile racks, they can add a second or third pod. They would need to purchase an additional Metro pod station and hot food table, but the existing pass-through units, air-curtain refrigerator and ice-cream cabinet will support up to three pods. Murray also planned the utilities to handle the extra load.
After delivering patient meals, runners return carts to the soiled side of the cart and dishwashing area, equipped with a Hobart rack-conveyor dishmachine and a Fisher hose reel with a spray gun.
“Hospital administration really liked how we added a wall separating where soiled trays are washed from clean tray storage,” Murray says. “It was something I learned designing hospital kitchens in Texas, where it’s required, and I think it’s a good idea for all hospitals.”
With no foodservice director on board during the planning stage, Murray strived to design a flexible retail dining space that could accommodate various menus.
The straight-line cafeteria, named Café East, consists of Grill, Salads/Desserts and Hot Entrees stations with a Beverage counter in the center of the room. The American Foodservice custom-fabricated food counters feature flexible breath shields that can position straight for operator service or tilt at an angle for customer self-service.
Employees operating the Grill rely on a Vulcan griddle for grilling chicken patties and hamburgers. The pass-through window connected to the main kitchen provides quick access to prepared menu items, such as French fries. The Grill doesn’t have a fryer and so relies on the kitchen’s Dean fryer in the cooking area.
“The operator can choose to turn the short-order station into a breakfast counter with a griddle to cook eggs, bacon or hash browns,” Murray says. “The heated display case, used to hold pre-wrapped hot sandwiches during the day, could hold pre-wrapped biscuit sandwiches in the morning.”
Moving down to the Salads/ Desserts counter, cold drop-ins contain fresh salad makings and cold desserts. Staff enters the kitchen through double doors directly behind the counter. Farther down at the Hot Entrees counter, heated drop-ins hold soup or comfort foods, such as beef stroganoff.
In the back corner of the cafeteria, Murray made use of extra space by designating it as condiment storage. “Disposables come in good-size cases, so rather than having them back in the kitchen’s dry-storage area, requiring employees to move them out to the servery, I added storage out front,” he says.
Next to the condiment storage is a closable pass-through window leading to the kitchen’s dishroom. Employees pass soiled pans and trays from the servery through the window.
Reflecting on the project, Murray says one of his favorite parts was the design process and the challenge of developing fully functional foodservice facilities within the constraints of an existing structure. For example, he had to work around existing round structural columns and reconfigure the dishwashing and pot and pan washing areas to accommodate existing ventilation shafts. “It was also special to be able to use my limited abilities to help in what was such a devastated area,” he adds.
New Orleans East Hospital
No. of Beds: 80
Opening Date: June 2014
No. of Seats: 32
Hours of Operation: Café East: 6:30-9:30 a.m. (breakfast), 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch), Patient Services: 8-10 a.m. (breakfast), 12-2 p.m. (lunch), 5-6:30 p.m. (dinner)
Stations: Grill, Salads/Desserts, Hot Entrees, Beverages
Project Cost: $70 million
Foodservice Equipment Budget: $500,000
General Manager, Food and Nutrition Services and Environmental Services: Sandy Gray, New Orleans East Hospital
Foodservice Design Consultant: William A. Murray, FCSI, Murray Corban Consultants, Vidalia, La.
Architects: Manning Architects and Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans
Associate Architect: WHLC Architecture, Baton Rouge, La.
Foodservice Contractor: Aramark Healthcare Support Services
Metro/Emerson pod station, shelving Lakeside carts, plate dispenser
Thermo-Kool/Mid-South Industries walk-in cooler/freezer
Robot Coupe food processor
Groen/Unified Brands tilt skillet
Vulcan/ITW FEG charbroiler, range, convection oven
Cambro ingredient bins
Continental heated cabinet, refrig.
Carter-Hoffmann/Middleby ice-cream cabinet
Victory/Ali Group air-curtain refrig.
Randell/Unified Brands hot food table
Aladdin Temp-Rite/Ali Group self-leveling tray dispenser
Hatco conveyor toaster
Dinex/Carlisle induction charger
Manitowoc ice maker w/bin
Caddy Corp. carts
Hobart/ITW FEG mixer, dishmachine
Fisher hose reel and gun
American Foodservice custom-fab worktables, sinks, dishtables
American Foodservice custom-fab serving counters
Hatco heated display case, conveyor toaster
Continental refrig. prep unit
Federal Industries/Standex refrig.
Vulcan/ITW FEG griddle
Manitowoc ice/beverage dispenser, ice maker