Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Rising Above: ASHE Recognizes the Best in Collaborative Building

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Rising Above: ASHE Recognizes the Best in Collaborative Building

Article excerpt

The annual Vista awards, presented by the American Hospital Association's American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), pay tribute to outstanding teamwork in new construction, renovation and infrastructure.

Health Facilities Management magazine is pleased to recognize this year's winning projects: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Alkek Tower expansion, Houston; Penrose Hospital's emergency department renovation, Colorado Springs, Colo.; and South Georgia Medical Center's operating suite HVAC upgrade in Valdosta.

These projects represent what "can happen if you go back to the basics of teamwork--if you assemble the proper team that understands the vision, the complexity and the endgame," says Mark Hope, PE, principal-in-charge and project manager for HPD Engineers Inc., engineers on the South Georgia Medical Center infrastructure project.

Janet Sisolak, director for major capital projects at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and owner's project director for the Alkek Tower expansion, says teamwork is paramount to health care design and construction. "That's what made this project successful," she says. "The team took the time up front to meet and understand what the issues were. They weren't just building a building. Everyone had a complete understanding of what the goal was."

Despite a hurricane, emergency surgery and the challenges of placing a construction site in the midst of a functioning hospital, these teams pulled together to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, design excellence and skilled artistry--all in the service of outstanding patient care. Congratulations to this year's winners!

NEW CONSTRUCTION

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Alkek Tower Expansion

RENOVATION

Penrose Hospital Emergency Department Renovation

INFRASTRUCTURE

South Georgia Medical Center Operating Suite HVAC Upgrade

Amy Eagle is a freelance health care writer based in the Chicago area and is a frequent contributor to Health Facilities Management.

NEW CONSTRUCTION

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Alkek Tower Expansion

The design-build team for the Alkek Tower expansion at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center used creative design, engineering and construction techniques to create additional floor space out of thin air.

The existing Alkek Hospital, which opened in 1998, was clad in six- to eight-inch thick precast concrete; the building's foundation could not support the continued use of this material for the expansion because of its weight. The team solved this problem by using a steel frame and one-inch thick glass fiber-reinforced concrete. This material mimics the look of the original precast, but is much lighter, allowing the construction of additional floors. The building was further expanded by cantilevering the floorplate over the corners of the existing facility, providing space for more, and larger, patient rooms on each floor.

Norman Morgan, AIA, principal-in-charge at HKS, who worked as a young designer on the original Alkek Hospital, says this project was "very, very much a collaborative effort," among the owner, architects, engineers and builders. "It took a lot of creative solutions," he says.

To minimize disruptions on active patient floors during construction, the team decommissioned the 12th floor to serve as a noise buffer. It also worked with nurses and patients to develop a system for completing loud work in short increments, with 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off.

When Hurricane Ike struck near Houston in the midst of the project, McCarthy supplied a five-person team to ride out the hurricane at the hospital, monitoring storm damage and correcting problems as they occurred. Thanks to this type of dedication, the team reports, the project was back on schedule within three days, less than half the time it took most other city construction work to resume after the storm. …

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