Thinking Beyond

Introducing the Swanson Family Chapel


We would be amiss to consider Beyond Health a holistic movement in health care without addressing one of the core components of wellbeing: spirituality. Creating a holistic campus is a cornerstone campaign initiative of the Beyond Health movement and one of the overlaying focuses of the highly anticipated campus expansion. At French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC), we understand the importance of creating an environment to heal, grieve, celebrate, and process all of the events that take place within the walls of the hospital.

We started this journey of redefining health care on the Central Coast by using the patient-first approach, as we always have. We wanted to go beyond the traditional expectations of a community hospital and create something truly special for SLO county residents. Since the start of the project, an improved chapel on campus was one of our top priorities. And now, we’re proud to announce that we’re making this happen.

The new Swanson Family Chapel will be an all-inclusive space where our patients, families, staff, and community can pause, reflect, and pray. The new interfaith chapel, conveniently located adjacent to the Healing Garden, will accommodate up to 65 people and allow easy access from the Oppenheimer Family Center for Emergency Medicine and hospital operating rooms. The space is being designed in anticipation of life’s major events such as births, weddings, or anniversary celebrations for our patients and their families. In addition, the new chapel will accommodate patient gurneys so that all services may be performed properly, comfortably, and safely in the chapel. The chapel will also be accompanied by a majestic bell tower that will soar more than 30 feet high. Construction is slated to begin in January 2021.

Creating a space that was inclusive to all belief systems was a principal priority for this initiative and will be reflected in the thoughtful design.  The space will have an open concept, allowing light to flow freely within the space. We wanted to make sure every detail was carefully thought out, and that we worked with the best people who are experienced with such a project. The stained glass that will adorn the chapel is being designed and fabricated by award-winning artist and designer Elizabeth Devereaux, who created the stained glass designs and installations for Christ Cathedral (Crystal Cathedral) in Los Angeles.

At FHMC, we realize that we are responsible for hosting some of life’s most emotional and impactful occurrences. Whether these experiences are anticipated or completely unforeseen, we know the vast role that spirituality plays at FHMC and are committed towards fostering an environment for life’s most intimate moments.