At the Opening Celebration for the Peace Island Medical Center on November 17, those who explored the new facility discovered it to be uniquely “island” not just in atmosphere, but in substance as well. The architects, who brought a strong commitment to creating a medical center appropriate to the community, together with the local steering committee, worked hard to assure that all aspects of the building are truly island in nature.
Wood from trees that had to be removed because they were directly on the site of the building has been used inside for details, including framing for the large windows that bring in island views and locally crafted timber for counters and stairs. Over eight and a half miles of island cedar have been used for the building siding. Slabs of treasured island maple have been chosen to decorate the entries to the facility. A large lobby coffee table and supports for sculptures are all created from wood collected, conserved, and finished by local artisans.
Landscaping has been designed to offer a harmonious link between the building and the natural environment of the site. Aspen groves, garry oaks, maples, cedars, salal, and ferns create a setting of quiet, familiar beauty. A small orchard honors the agricultural heritage of the property.
A diverse sampling of art adds to the warmth and welcoming feel of the facility interior. Over 90% of the collection in a wide variety of media is the work of island artists, and all of the art is from the immediate Pacific Northwest area. Many of the major works have been underwritten by local donors.
In a sun-filled gallery connecting the clinic and diagnostic areas with the Emergency Department, San Juan Island artist Annie Howell-Adams has created a multi-panel mural depicting the history of local healthcare from 19th century doctors moving about the island with horse and buggy and early 20th century local nurses training at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham to air ambulance service and modern medical practice.
Islanders are encouraged to visit Peace Island Medical Center to fully experience this truly island facility.