Brasfield & Gorrie photo
Designed for patients seeking world-class health care, the comprehensive Florida Hospital for Women in Orlando will treat females in all stages of life.
Designed for patients seeking world-class health care, the comprehensive Florida Hospital for Women in Orlando will treat females in all stages of life. The 12-story, 400,000 sq. ft. (37,161 sq m) structure will house 322 beds, and will offer services that include obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, women’s surgery, neonatal intensive care, mammography, wellness and education and the High-Risk Breast Center.
Brasfield & Gorrie serves as general contractor on the more than $200 million dollar project, which began with pouring pink concrete into the foundation in February 2014. Throughout the night and into the next day, an estimated 700 trucks poured concrete, making it the second largest pour in central Florida history, following the 2006 construction of Florida Hospital’s Ginsburg Tower.
“The mass concrete pour was the foundation for the new women’s tower,” said Tim Johnson, Brasfield & Gorrie division manager, Orlando region. “Approximately 7,500 cubic yards were poured continuously over 18 hours. Due to the complexity of the site logistics, a dedicated team spent four months planning for this phase of the project.”
The project team conducted a 47,000 cu. yd. (35,934 cu m) excavation prior to pouring the mat foundation. A total of 4,200 tons (3,810 t) of recycled aggregate have been placed underneath the mat foundation, which includes more than 700 tons (635 t) of reinforcing steel.
The site work began in January 2013, and the foundation for the new women’s tower got underway in July 2013. Johnson said coordination of activities has been one of the main concerns.
“Logistics are the primary challenge. Construction considerations are influenced by the existing hospital to the north, the Florida Hospital executive tower on the south and the hospital’s main entrance, which is immediately east. There are also active train tracks on the west. Additionally, there is only one entrance to the site and one entrance to exit the site, and there is very limited space surrounding the building.”
The concrete structure is finished. Precast concrete and glass were installed on the building exterior. Multiple interior floors are in different stages of completion including framing, drywall and MEP rough-in. The enabling projects, including relocating existing underground utilities, are done, along with the foundation.
“The building exterior, including but not limited to precast, glass, metal panels, stone, canopies, fountain and roofing, have yet to be completed,” said Johnson. “The interior build-out floors are at different stages; however, framing, drywall, paint, flooring, ceilings, millwork, and miscellaneous finishes are not yet completed.”
Although every construction project requires planning and attention to detail, working on a hospital is even more demanding, according to Johnson.
“There are typically more parts and pieces including additional and more complex systems that require an elevated level of coordination and planning, as well as the number of certified installers working on the project. Additionally, the hospital remains operational 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.”
There have been no significant snags during construction, and weather is not expected to be a factor as crews continue in the winter months. The utilities required for the new women’s tower are typical for a hospital project, and have not posed any problems.
Prior to the start of construction, the area outside the hospital’s main entrance was grassy, so there wasn’t much site/prep work required. However, the hospital’s existing grease trap was located in the area, so workers were required to relocate it prior to excavating for the foundation.
“Due to the tight logistics of the site, a secant wall was installed so that the foundation excavation could be vertical rather than benched back,” said Johnson. “The total cubic yards of excavation was approximately 43,000 cubic yards.”
A variety of equipment is being used on the project. Two tower cranes (Peiner SK-405) have been required for hoisting, along with excavators for digging, dump trucks for hauling off dirt, concrete pumps and a placing boom for pouring the concrete structure, boom lifts and scissor lifts for access and a dual buckhoist.
Materials on the job include precast concrete, glass, stone panels, metal panels, plastic laminate, solid surface, paint, acoustical ceilings, sheet vinyl, terrazzo, carpet, ceramic and porcelain tile, rubber flooring, fabric panels, resin panels, wood doors, wood veneer, fountain, canopies, interior glass railing, glass bridge, venetian plaster and wall protection.
Throughout the process, Johnson said crews are mindful of the environment and the need to be energy efficient.
“Sustainability plays an important role on a project of this scope, beginning with the selection of materials that require less maintenance and have a longer life cycle,” said Johnson. “Also, the team is focused on continuous improvement in an effort to reduce waste, enhance efficiency and increase productivity.”
The new tower will feature some of the area’s most advanced technology to deliver woman-centric health care in a hotel-like setting.
The new construction will include fourteen labor and delivery suites, 72 beds for postpartum care, mother-baby and high-risk obstetrics, 81 beds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and 13 operating rooms for obstetrics and women’s services, with room for da Vinci robotic and minimally-invasive surgeries.
For hospital officials, the construction comes at the right time. Committing resources and staff to a facility dedicated exclusively to females also is extremely important.
“Research is showing that the lifespan of women is not growing at the same rate as men,” said Marla Silliman, senior vice president of Florida Hospital. “Women put others’ health and well-being ahead of their own, but need to take care of themselves too. That’s why putting all the specialists in one comprehensive facility to work together is so important.
“Florida Hospital has been serving the women of Central Florida for over 100 years and the women’s services across our health care system will be the gateway for women of all generations to access world-class healthcare for both health and healing,” Silliman said. “We realize women often neglect their own health needs as they care for their families. Florida Hospital for Women is making health care easier for women, making them the priority.”
A milestone in the construction process was marked in mid-November, as administrators, employees and construction workers lent their names to a 30-foot pink support beam to symbolize their commitment to women’s health. In keeping with the topping out tradition, a crane hoisted a pink evergreen tree atop the new tower.
Over the last year, Florida Hospital physicians, nurses and other staff members gave input on the design for the new facility. Rooms at Florida Hospital for Women will include a sofa that converts into a bed and a foldout table for families to share a meal or display baby pictures. The new hospital also will include features such as the only milk depot in Central Florida.
Women with high-risk pregnancies, who often spend a month or more in the hospital, were considered when designing the new building. There will be gathering areas for patients and families to meet with friends. A balcony also will allow high-risk patients to briefly leave their rooms for fresh air, while still remaining close to medical care.
Florida Hospital for Women was designed to be a calming environment. Much of the medical equipment is concealed behind headwalls, which were created to give the room a less clinical feel, while still allowing nurses to have access to crucial items.
Founded in 1908 by one of the first female physicians in the nation, Florida Hospital bills itself as a facility dedicated to the early detection and timely treatment of a variety of health issues, with the hospital’s doctors, nurses and clinicians committed to meeting women’s health needs. Florida Hospital is a member of Adventist Health System, serving as a community hospital for Greater Orlando, and as a major tertiary referral hospital for Central Florida and much of the Southeast, the Caribbean and Latin America. Adventist Health System operates 44 hospitals in ten states making it the largest not-for-profit protestant health care system in the U.S.
Three years ago, Florida Hospital announced a renewed commitment to women’s services across Central Florida with three new buildings and additional services. Celebration Health Women’s Institute and Florida Hospital for Women at Winter Park Memorial Hospital are already serving patients.
“At Florida Hospital for Women, we are improving the way we medically care for women by staying at the forefront of technology and advancing women’s health care in Florida,” said Kari Vargas, vice president of Women Services at Florida Hospital Orlando. “Their health needs are distinctly different from men — not just at the physical level, but the cellular level. That’s why coordinating care between specialist like cancer, cardiology, and obstetrics is so important.”