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Crews Dig Into Delivery of Dallas Hospital

Tue April 18, 2023 - West Edition #9
Irwin Rapoport – CEG Correspondent


The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, in partnership with Source Building Group, began construction of a new $295 million psychiatric hospital in Dallas — the Texas Behavioral Health Center at UT Southwestern.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo)
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, in partnership with Source Building Group, began construction of a new $295 million psychiatric hospital in Dallas — the Texas Behavioral Health Center at UT Southwestern. (Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo)
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, in partnership with Source Building Group, began construction of a new $295 million psychiatric hospital in Dallas — the Texas Behavioral Health Center at UT Southwestern.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo) Crews are drilling 486 piers to support the building and soil retention walls.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo) The site has a significant slope from north to south and east to west and a large soil retention wall aids in dealing with the grade change from the upper to lower levels of the building.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo) The construction site at 4801 Harry Hines Blvd. is at the southwest corner of the UT Southwestern Medical Center. There are no traffic impacts to deal with for the contractor.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo) The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and UT Southwestern Medical Center, along with substantial support from Children’s Health.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo) Construction of the facility began on Dec. 5, 2022. It is expected to be completed in 2025.
(Texas Health and Human Services Commission photo)

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in partnership with Source Building Group began construction of a new $295 million psychiatric hospital in Dallas - the Texas Behavioral Health Center at UT Southwestern - on December 5, 2022, a project that is part of the state's comprehensive plan to expand inpatient psychiatric beds. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and UT Southwestern Medical Center, along with substantial support from Children's Health.

"Texas is making an unprecedented investment in helping people with serious mental illness," said HHS Executive Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young. "Throughout the state we are expanding, renovating and rebuilding our state psychiatric hospital system from the ground up. When complete, this much-needed hospital will offer hope, healing and recovery for the most vulnerable Texans living in the surrounding Metroplex."

HHSC and UT Southwestern Medical Center are responsible for the design and construction of the new facility, which bring the expertise of both organizations, along with community stakeholders, to create a state-of-the-art mental health system for the region.

Construction is estimated to be complete by 2025.

The four story, rectangular-shaped concrete structure building with a terrace at the northern end, designed by HKS, Inc. and architecture+, will have 296 beds, with 200 for adults and up to 96 reserved for pediatric patients. To learn more about this facility, Click here - (place the link). The building has a 177,000-square foot footprint and will have 505,000 SF of interior space, including a future pediatric expansion. The area fronting the building will have an access road and a few parking spots. The back will have gardens, and a gazebo. The glazing is based on square-shaped windows.

"UT Southwestern is pleased to partner with HHSC and the State of Texas to address important unmet needs in our region and state for inpatient treatment as part of the continuum of care for those suffering from serious mental illness," said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center. "[Our] physicians and other caregivers will bring to this new hospital our commitment to provide the very best care possible today for patients. This new hospital also provides opportunities to develop innovative models of behavioral health care, train a holistic behavioral health care workforce, and advance research that can lead to more effective treatment and prevention."

Governor. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature approved $282.5 million in funding for the construction and design and construction of the new hospital. Additionally, Children's Health donated $200 million to support a pediatric wing where UT Southwestern pediatricians will exclusively treat children and adolescent patients.

"We have been working on many fronts in Texas to address the growing need for mental health services," said State Sen. Jane Nelson. "Securing funds for this hospital was a wise investment that will have a major positive impact on our ability to care for Texans in need of treatment."

"The new Texas Behavioral Health Center ... is an exciting and long overdue addition to our region's ability to address mental health challenges," said State Rep. Toni Rose. "The full range of patient services offered by the new hospital combined with UT Southwestern's world-class research truly marks a new day for mental healthcare in North Texas."

The structural and engineering consultants for the design include: Architectural Plus – Behavioral Health Specialist, Pacheco Koch - civil engineering and landscape architecture, Martinez Moore Engineers - structural engineering, MEPCE, Inc. - mechanical electrical and plumbing engineers, Datacom Design Group - technology engineers, Systems Design International - food service designer, Focus EGD sign - graphics designer, RIB U.S. - cost estimator, Acoustonica - acoustical consultant, Lighting Elysium - lighting designer, St. Onge Company - vertical transportation consultant, SWCA Environmental -historic building consultant, and Access by Design - accessibility consultant.

"An acoustic design with on-site testing and product selections provides quiet healing environments in an urban setting," stated the HKS team. "Large window systems were designed to maintain patient safe impact resistant requirements."

The expected lifespan of the building is 80 years. While not a LEED structure, it will follow a variety of sustainable design strategies comparable to LEED objectives.

"All materials and products are reviewed strictly with patient safety in mind to mitigate damage and ability for self-harm or harm to others," said HKS. "The project delivery includes fast-track procedures with multiple early-release design drawing packages for the contractor to continue construction while the building design continues through refinement."

The state is expanding its hospital capacity.

"Since 2017, the Texas Legislature and Governor. Abbott have appropriated more than $1.2 billion in funding for the replacement, renovation, or expansion of state hospitals in Austin, Kerrville, Rusk, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas," states the project press release. "Construction was completed earlier this year on the John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center in Houston, the newest facility in the state hospital system. Combined, the construction projects will add at least approximately 670 new in-patient psychiatric beds in Texas within the next four years."

The construction site at 4801 Harry Hines Blvd Street is at the Southwest corner of the UT Southwestern Medical Center. There are no traffic impacts to deal with.

So far, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company/Source Building Group partnership has started work on the earthwork, foundations, and soil retention scopes of work. Over the next 12 months, efforts will focus on utilities, concrete structure, exterior skin, roofing, mechanical and electrical work.

According to the HHSC, the construction workforce remains a challenge in North Texas and the construction team is working hard to maximize subcontractor interest and potential subcontractor partnerships to overcome the workforce shortage. While the project is still in the early stages, construction is progressing on schedule. At this point there is sufficient labor, but it could be a challenge as the project progresses.

There are no major soil, water and utility issues. Whiting-Turner noted that the area of Dallas where the project is located has highly plastic soils and deep bearing stratum depths, well below ground water elevation. The drilled shaft piers, averaging 80+ feet deep, are all cased.

The project site has minimal storage for a lay-down area, but solid planning has found ways to get around the issue. The project team and leadership are highly collaborative and issues/questions are resolved in a timely manner.

For the Earth Work and Site Prep

The site had four existing buildings - three steel and one concrete - that were demolished in the Fall of 2022. This operation was completed in 2.5 months, with minimal amounts of asbestos. The debris was sorted off-site at recycling centers.

The earth work and excavation has proceeded as planned. The site has a significant slope from north to south and east to west,and a large soil retention wall aids in dealing with the grade change from the upper to lower levels of the building. No rock was encountered during the earthwork. The foundation work is still underway and is scheduled for a total five-month duration.

The structural slab-at-grade will be roughly three feet thick. The concrete varies from 3,500 to 5,000 psi.

Underground utility installation has not yet begun, but the plan includes water, storm, sanitary sewer, and electrical duct bank. This work will take several months, with some installation taking place prior to the slab being poured.

Crews are drilling 486 piers to support the building and soil retention walls. The drilling depths are very close to what had been anticipated.

The current work has operators manning a CAT 745 articulated off-road dump truck, two CAT 336 excavators, and a CAT D6 dozer, as well as a Link-Belt LS 248 crawler crane with pneumatic hammer, an IMT 150 drill rig, two CAT 3200 drill rigs, and a Tadano Mantis 20010 hydraulic crawler crane.

This is a concrete structure with only miscellaneous steel scope.

The exterior wall, although it will utilize a cast-in-place concrete system in a few spots, will mainly consist of prefabricated concrete framing panels that shall be delivered and rapidly placed by three tower cranes. One crane will be set up in June, with other two to be placed in July. The cranes will remain in place for the completion of the building envelope and glazing systems.

The HHSC says that the sheer volume of materials for a facility this size is the primary challenge, particularly considering the site has little to no lay down space. Off-site facilities will be utilized to store materials for on-time delivery to site.

A fully adhered single ply TPO roof will be installed.

There is approximately 105,000 SF of exterior curtain wall and storefront systems. Given the accessibility of the upper floors, the glazing systems will be installed utilizing boom lifts.

The interior work for the hospital should start in the late fourth quarter of this year, which should be completed in 18 months.

Work on the front section of the structure, including the pouring of the concrete for the parking spaces and the access lanes should occur in Summer 2024.

The management team consists of UT Southwestern Medical Center, HHSC, HKS, and Whiting-Turner, and Source Building Group.

The HHSC explained that the construction team is highly collaborative, and that the crews are efficient, hard working, and professionals in their craft,

Peak days so far have 65 construction management and subcontractor employees on- site. The subcontractors include Lithko and Keller for drilled piers, RPMx for earthwork, Keller for soil retention systems, and GDA for waterproofing.

Excavation operations should generate 47,000 tons of earth and rock, which can be reused on other projects.

New materials will include 37,000 cubic yards of concrete for the building, and 470 tons of miscellaneous steel. Pipe quantity is not yet known as 100 percent design won't be complete until May 1.

The subcontractors are repairing their own equipment, which is purchased and rented from local and regional dealerships.

When typical equipment breakdowns occur, they are typically repaired within 24 to 48 hours. Mechanics are dispatched when needed. Equipment on-site is either owned/maintained by subcontractors or rented to subcontractors.




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