Published on : October 22, 2010

"Providence Holy Cross Tower Expansion on Track to Receive USGBC LEED Certification"

The team of Swinerton Builders, HMC Architects and Stahl Companies is on track to deliver to their client a 136 bed LEED certified bed tower. The tower will provide G.I. services, and patient prep in the basement. The first floor will house 2 new c-section operating rooms, labor and delivery rooms, a neo-natal intensive care unit, an entrance/waiting lobby, a cafeteria, and a short stay unit. Floors 2, 3 and 4 will all house patient recovery rooms. The project will tie-in to the main existing hospital at all floors except the 4th. The entire team’s main concern has been the preservation of the hospitals ability to continue operations with zero interruption of service with the project being built at the front door.

Before the new team’s mobilization, the project was initially plagued by an environmental impact study, which forced the project to cease under different construction management at the time. The new Providence Regional Director of Facilities and Construction, Robert Hacker, had been instrumental in bringing the project back to life and to start with an almost entirely new team to finish the project. The team worked diligently to meet Robert's expectation of lowering costs while maintaining quality, preserving the original program before the shut down and to deliver an aggressive schedule. The timing of the market collapse in conjunction to an open bid process, guaranteed bringing Providence the best value for what they expected from the project. Upon award, the team immediately assembled a LEED Team in order to ensure that all originally anticipated credits were being tracked. HMC Architects lead the effort with Holy Hill as the USGBC LEED Project Administrator in defining both design and construction anticipated credits. 

The sustainable features, that the team pursued, primarily concentrated pursuing points on sustainable site, indoor environmental quality as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council. Some of the project’s features in achieving LEED Certification was the installation of impervious pavement at the drive approach in order to capture as much as the storm run-off as possible. The use of recycled-content materials throughout the hospital as well as maximizing the amount of sun light into the tower provided credits toward LEED Certification. The project also features landscaping with planting that minimizes irrigation requirements as well as a vegetated catch basin. The construction program involves a recycling program for all the waste generated as well as procedures to deal with the flushing out all v.o.c.’s (volatile organic compounds) that are typically odors found in “new” flooring and finishes. The commissioning agent is also engaged with USGBC requirements on turning over the building with sustainability in mind.

The project also involves the use of two new high efficient Trane chillers and three new Evapco cooling towers as a part of the central plant upgrade. During its construction, the team brought in two temporary chillers capable of servicing the existing hospital 1300 tons of chilled water capacity while the existing ones were removed. The team projected a schedule of seven months for that duration and came in exactly on time. The project also features a 2 Meg CAT quad-turbo V-16 diesel-electric generator capable of providing emergency power to the 120,000+ sf new tower. 

With all the above, the biggest accolade of the project is the true partnering between Swinerton, Stahl, and HMC. Our high-energy project team is always solution oriented in order to meet our client’s expectation. The team really performed in not only the delivery of the bed tower, but concurrently also designing and building additional ancillary space to relocate hospital staff while the expansion was carried thru the 1st floor of the existing building. Prior to bringing in the temporary chillers the construction team also installed two 12” supply and return chilled water lines the span of 300 feet right through the emergency ambulance drive servicing an operational emergency department. The scope involved coordinating with ambulance and med-vac helicopter rescue patient deliveries in order to keep the progress going while not interfering with the hospitals operations. The project also included a new campus transformer installed by DWP, which required running the campus on temporary generators for all power during the cutover. Robert Hacker was personally at the site during the 72 hour time period along with the entire construction team, architects and engineers and inspection teams in order to ensure a seamless transition with the hospital staff. To date all progress occurred with zero incidences and not a single man-hour lost due to safety or operational concerns.

This project has been a model delivery on providing a sustainable facility on budget and schedule. The partnership and relationships built on this project between Robert Hacker, Swinerton, HMC, and Stahl Companies will continue far after the project is delivered.

About the Author:

BS  &   Master of Eng - Civil Engineering - University of Florida 15 years of construction management experience currently Sr. PM within the Healthcare Group at Swinerton Builders responsible for delivering ground up healthcare facilities from concept thru construction work on projects ranging from $1M to $250M+