STLCC Forest Park Center for Nursing and Advanced Health Sciences
Landscape Performance Benefits
- Reduces average annual stormwater runoff by 6.3%, from 435,160 cu ft to 407,560 cu ft, for a 98th percentile rain event.
- Saves an estimated 670,400 gallons of water monthly through reduced irrigation as compared with the site before the renovation.
- Promotes outdoor space occupancy and supports at least 7 types of outdoor activities for students and visitors.
- Increases walkability, with 30% increase in walkability score using a walkability evaluation tool as compared with the site prior to renovation.
- Promotes relaxation and reduces distressed feelings. When 21 site users familiar with the campus before renovation rated their perceptions of the site pre- and post-renovation, average scores for relaxation increased by 36%, and average scores for distressed feelings were reduced by 36% for the post-renovation landscape.
- Increased the attractiveness of the campus. When 21 site users familiar with the campus before renovation rated their perceptions related to the site pre- and post-renovation, average scores for campus attractiveness increased by 45% for the post-renovation landscape.
- Saves an estimated $32,000 annually on maintenance as compared with the site before the renovation.
At a Glance
Former Land Use
5600 Oakland Ave
St. Louis, Missouri 63110
$427,000 (landscape); $39 million (total including building)
The Center for Nursing and Health Sciences is located within a former Dan Kiley landscape on the east edge of St. Louis Community College’s (STLCC) Forest Park campus in St. Louis, Missouri. The previous fortress-like campus featured a linear building and expansive lawn separating the building from the street. The new buildings and five-acre landscape transformed the campus into a space that supports a learning environment for students and welcomes patients who come to campus seeking dental care and other medical treatments. The reorganized walkways with sculpture and light walls enhance the usage of outdoor passages and reinforce the connection between buildings, while sitting areas encourage students to spend time and gather on campus. The sustainable landscape captures and stores stormwater runoff while reducing light pollution and helping the building to achieve LEED Silver certification. The native plant community forms an ecologically diverse landscape that requires no irrigation and minimal maintenance.
- 3 large bioretention basins cover a total of approximately 44,430 sf. The basins feature plants such as eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), Ozark witch hazel (Hammemalis vernalis), lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), and orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida).
- 30 plant species native to the St. Louis region including honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis), butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), and blue mistflower (Conoclinum coelestinum) cover approximately 17,000 sf (7.8%) of the site. The plantings were laid out using a method called “Designed Plant Community” which organizes plants according to their composition on-site during construction. Plants are categorized as Structural, Dynamic, Field, and Ephemeral, and are arranged in layers. This planting strategy was developed in collaboration with the Horticultural program at St. Louis Community College.
- Ten 10-ft-high perforated light walls illuminate the cross-campus walkway. These sculptural features were relocated from a former plaza in downtown St. Louis.
- Much of the original campus landscape was designed by landscape architect Dan Kiley. Key features designed by Kiley include large brick and concrete plazas with a large fountain and sculptural benches located in the plazas and arcades. The landscape architect for the redesign took design cues from the original plan, including using cypress trees and other lush foliage to preserve the spirit of Kiley’s design.
- Transform the campus and landscape from a fortress-like environment to an open and welcoming space.
- Manage 98% of stormwater on the project site in order to earn the LEED credit for stormwater management.
- Reduce reliance on maintenance and irrigation by using native plants.
- Encourage the use of outdoor walkways as an alternative to interior passageways between buildings.
- Enhance pedestrian and vehicular access to the new building and the larger campus.
- Redesign the existing topography to make the campus landscape fully accessible; for example, removing stairs and steep walkways and adjusting path lengths and building entries.
Construction of the three rain gardens cost approximately $9.96 per sf over a total of 1.02 acres (44,431 sf), as compared to a conventionally planted landscape bed, which would have cost about $9.68 per sf. The rain garden construction increased the project budget by approximately $12,440; however, it captures and stores stormwater, encourages groundwater recharge, offers improved aesthetics, and requires less maintenance.
- Although the landscape architecture team built and fostered positive relationships with the general contractor through phone calls, email, site visits, and regularly scheduled meetings, some elements of project construction did not occur as planned. The landscape contractor stockpiled soil on-site during construction, which resulted in the presence of wind-pollinated invasive plants. Writing clearer instructions into contract documents (through notes or details specifying how soil should be handled) could mitigate this issue for future projects.
- Following project completion, the plants began exhibiting visible nutrient deficiencies. The landscape architect took soil samples and discovered the mix lacked nitrogen. This appears to be linked to the construction administration phase and maintenance period following completion.
- The landscape architect worked with the St. Louis Community College School of Horticulture to lay out the plantings as a “Designed Plant Community” and orchestrate installation on-site while maintaining the overall design intent. This helped the landscape contractor to understand the layout of the desired naturalistic planting plan based on the critical plantings’ locations (especially trees, shrubs, and edges) versus the more traditional approach of mixes that fill in remaining space (which would be more familiar to the contractor).
- Following project completion, the landscape architecture team observed that many patients who come to the campus for treatment (e.g. dental cleanings) have mobility challenges. There are limited parking spaces (accessible or otherwise) available at the front of the building. More parking spaces near the entrance to the building would better accommodate patients with mobility issues.
- Some of the courses offered at St. Louis Community College require students to be on campus between five and eight hours a day. More outdoor space and varied spaces (small, medium, large spaces) would accommodate these students and encourage them to increase their time spent outdoors.
Bench: Landscape Forms/Escofet
Moveable Cafe Table and Chairs: Landscape Forms
Bicycle Racks: Landscape Forms
Trash Receptacles: Landscape Forms
Security and Lighted Bollards: Landscape Forms
Detectable Warning Panel: Masons Supply Company
Detectable Warning Unit Pavers: Tectura Designs
Concrete Pavers: Tectura Designs
Curbs and Edge Restraints: Tectura Designs
Sand Setting-Bed Materials: Tectura Designs
Chemical Surface Retarder for Exposed Aggregate Appearance: Dayton Superior Corporation
Quick Couplers: Rain Bird
Trees and Shrubs: Pea Ridge Forest Tree Farm & Nursery; Anna Nursery; Waldbart & Sons Nursery; Hoette Farms & Nursery; Jost Greenhouses
Landscape Architect: DTLS
Lab Architect: HOK
Building Architect: KAI Enterprises
Structural Engineer: Larson Engineering
MEP Engineering: KAI
LS Code Consulting: Code Consultants, Inc.
Civil (Tower): CDI
Surveying/Civil: Glasper Professional Services
General Contractor: Tarlton Corporation
Commissioning: Zodiac Commissioning
LEED Consulting: Lucy Williams
Sculpture: Gateway Foundation
Sculpture Lighting Designer: RBLDI
Sculpture Structural Engineer: Ted Pruess
Sculpture Installer: ACME Erectors
Role of the Landscape Architect
The landscape architect was involved in all planning and design phases of the project including: development of a needs assessment and identifying key issues; master planning; schematic design through documentation; construction administration; and LEED services and coordination.
Case Study Prepared By
Research Fellow: Kelley Lemon, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Research Assistant: Chia-Ching Wu, PhD Candidate, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Firm Liaison: Michelle Ohle, Principal, DTLS
Firm Liaison: Gabe Presley, Landscape Architect, DTLS
Lemon, Kelley and Chia-Ching Wu. “STLCC Forest Park Center for Nursing and Advanced Health Sciences.” Landscape Performance Series. Landscape Architecture Foundation, 2022. https://doi.org/10.31353/cs1810