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Brasfield & Gorrie Begins to Bring New UAB Hospital to Life

Thu April 28, 2022 - Southeast Edition #9
Cindy Riley – CEG Correspondent


The new building, scheduled to open in 2024, will include a 412,000-sq.-ft., nine-story hospital with 200 beds and a 127,000-sq.-ft., five-story medical office building. 
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo)
The new building, scheduled to open in 2024, will include a 412,000-sq.-ft., nine-story hospital with 200 beds and a 127,000-sq.-ft., five-story medical office building. (Brasfield & Gorrie photo)
The new building, scheduled to open in 2024, will include a 412,000-sq.-ft., nine-story hospital with 200 beds and a 127,000-sq.-ft., five-story medical office building. 
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo) A replacement hospital that’s been in the works for several years is becoming a reality in McCalla, Ala.
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo) Crews are currently finishing the mass excavation and deep foundation drilling.
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo) The job site is on the side of a hill and required a tremendous amount of excavation.
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo) Underground site utilities, under slab rough-in, forming and pouring concrete shallow foundations, columns and slabs on grade are ongoing.
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo) The site has been cleared and grubbed.
(Brasfield & Gorrie photo)

A replacement hospital that's been in the works for several years is becoming a reality in McCalla, Ala.

Medical West Hospital Authority, an affiliate of UAB Health System, broke ground on the $400 million project in November 2021. The new building, scheduled to open in 2024, will include a 412,000-sq.-ft., nine-story hospital with 200 beds and a 127,000-sq.-ft., five-story medical office building.

"With all of the growth happening in West Jefferson County, we feel this is the perfect time to welcome a new state-of-the-art facility," said Keith Pennington, Medical West Hospital CEO. "The new hospital will provide all the services currently available at the existing facility. Medical West will also continue to serve area residents through operation of its primary care clinics in Bessemer, Hueytown, Vance, Tannehill, Hoover and Parkwest, along with the freestanding emergency department on Highway 150."

The existing hospital was built in 1964 and has simply outlived its usefulness.

"Although multiple renovations have been made throughout the years, we knew a new facility would have to be part of our future growth plans," said Pennington. "We could not be more excited to work with the exceptional team of firms that will help us welcome this new hospital to the residents of West Jefferson County."

The full-service facility will feature a new surgical and endoscopy suite, the latest in imaging technology and more intensive care beds. The plans also call for a parking deck.

Pennington said the Bell Hill Road location is ideal for patients who will use the new hospital.

"Just three miles from our current location and now visible from I-459, this new facility will be convenient for all residents in West Jefferson County. This will complement the Medical West Freestanding Emergency Department (FED) located off of Exit 10 in Hoover."

Pennington said it's fulfilling to see work under way on a project that will serve so many for years to come.

"Seeing the construction team hard at work has been rewarding, not only for the residents near the location, but for our entire staff as well. We are excited to bring this facility to our community to meet their expectations of private rooms and an updated facility."

According to a UAB news release, Cushman & Wakefield/EGS Commercial Real Estate of Birmingham was engaged for site selection for the 46-acre development site. Leading the project for the Medical West replacement facility will be CBRE as the project manager. The design and build team includes HKS and KPS as architects of the development, CCI, Bhate Geosciences and Building & Earth as site engineers and Brasfield & Gorrie as the general contractor.

According to Brasfield & Gorrie operations manager Paul Garrick, the project is not without its share of challenges.

"The job site is on the side of a hill and required a tremendous amount of excavation. There's also a spring on the property that flows continuously. Managing the water that leaves the site during rainy days has been a major challenge. That has required us to go above and beyond the erosion control measures shown on the contract documents, and we have implemented daily third-party monitoring of those systems."

The site has been cleared and grubbed. The central utility plant slab-on-grade has been poured. Two of the nine slab-on-grade pours at the hospital have been completed. Ninety-five percent of the mass excavation is complete. The two tower cranes that workers will use to move materials during construction have been erected.

Crews are currently finishing the mass excavation and deep foundation drilling. Underground site utilities, under slab rough-in, forming and pouring concrete shallow foundations, columns and slabs on grade are ongoing.

As for demolition, Garrick said a few minor structures had to be cleared before work could begin, but the site was basically all timber. Approximately 280,000 cu. yds. of cut and fill were necessary to level off the site and get it to grade. The site work also required approximately 9,000 linear ft. of stormwater piping installation. Site work began in mid-October and is continuing.

As with many other construction projects, wet weather has been an issue for crews.

"To date, there have been 32 rain days affecting construction," said Garrick. "We are recovering those days, when possible, by working on the weekend."

Heavy machinery that's currently being used on the job includes multiple Komatsu PC360 and Cat 336 excavators, Komatsu D71 and Cat D5 dozers, Cat off-road articulating haulers, Cat 249 and 289 skid steers, 10K JLG forklifts, Kubota 4x4 dump trucks, a Manitowoc 555 crawler crane, two tower cranes, three drill rigs, a 6-in. pump, concrete buckets, compactors and generators.

Main materials delivered to the site so far have included stone, gravel, concrete, rebar and concrete masonry units.

"Steel will arrive in the next month," said Garrick. "A tremendous amount of lumber is required to form where the concrete gets poured."

Garrick noted that the main concerns on a project of this nature involve keeping everyone safe, managing the stormwater run-off and maintaining the budget and schedule. He added that healthcare facilities are always complex because they require complicated systems that are essential for patient care.

"Adhering to life safety and code compliance is also paramount on healthcare projects, and Brasfield & Gorrie reviews these elements throughout construction. We also plan carefully to coordinate medical equipment, a process that requires utility services, appropriate structural support, comprehensive planning for equipment routing and rigging and dust-free environments."

"We are extremely fortunate to build some of the largest and most complex buildings across the Southeast. We are grateful to be part of the team that will ultimately deliver a brand-new greenfield replacement hospital project in the Birmingham area.

"It's equal parts gratifying and humbling to know that we contributed to bringing to life a facility that will save and improve so many lives in our community. It is priceless that, for the rest of our lives, we will be able to drive by this facility and tell our friends and family that we had a small hand in building it." CEG




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