Gordon Hospital photo
In Calhoun, Ga., Gordon Hospital is overseeing a multi-phase addition that will add 59,000 sq. ft. (5,481.3 sq m) to the facility.
In Calhoun, Ga., Gordon Hospital is overseeing a multi-phase addition that will add 59,000 sq. ft. (5,481.3 sq m) to the facility. The $37 million price tag, which covers construction and medical equipment costs, includes the renovation of another 11,500 sq. ft. (1,068.4 sq m) of existing space.
“This new construction, which is part of our overall health care service strategic growth plan, will streamline services for us and make it easier for patients and visitors to navigate the facility,” said Pete Weber, president and CEO of Gordon Hospital.” In addition, growing services at Gordon Hospital keep more jobs in our local community.”
Included in the new construction will be the creation of a new patient tower entrance on the Red Bud Road side — a more direct route to visit patients in the hospital’s inpatient areas, including the progressive care unit. All inpatient areas will be accessed through the new entrance while outpatient services and the medical office building will still be reached through the existing entrance on the Curtis Parkway side.
The patient tower construction will reportedly increase the emergency department and Med Surge capacities, provide better patient care facilities and improve the patient and internal flow of the hospital. The expansion of the emergency department has been in the works for quite some time.
“Our current emergency department, which opened in 2008, has exceeded its capacity for the last several years, seeing more than 38,000 patients each year,” said Weber. “The new construction will add capacity for up to 33 patient exam rooms to the department, along with new walk-in and ambulance entrances, in order to meet the growing need of our community.”
The expansion and renovation also includes the addition of an intensive care unit, a new patient care unit that will house 24 beds, the building and relocation of the parking lot and the creation of two separate entrances for entering the hospital. Relocating the current helipad closer to the new ambulance entrance of the emergency department will allow for better access for transferring critical patients to tertiary hospital partners.
Over the last decade, Gordon Hospital has experienced significant growth. A 69-bed facility, the hospital is owned and operated by Adventist Health System, the largest not-for-profit protestant health care system in the world.
“We have been fortunate,” said Weber. “Some hospitals are struggling tremendously, and aren’t able to do these types of projects. Our physicians and our community have supported us over the years, so we are able to move forward and continue to grow our services for our patients and their families. The downside to any growth, however, is that you must live through the construction. We know it is an inconvenience at times, but it is essential for us to be able to give our community the access and services they deserve.”
The first phase of the project began in early 2014, with the building of new parking lots and campus access road. The general contractor is Brasfield & Gorrie of Atlanta. Brasfield & Gorrie senior project manager Chris Mann said construction is occurring in and around an active hospital that operates 24 hours a day.
“When working on a new hospital or an existing facility, our primary concerns involve patients, staff, and hospital operations,” Mann said. “We schedule, manage and build the project based on their needs. This requires a great degree of coordination across all aspects of the project and with subcontractors.
“Additional challenges include minimizing noise and vibrations that could impact hospital operations, and relocating existing and installing new utilities while minimizing hospital impacts.”
Relocating main communication services that are the life blood of hospital, including phone and internet, has also been a chief concern, as well as relocating the main hospital power feed and maintaining infection control measures to ensure safety to patients.
Currently, workers are installing the exterior façade and mechanical/ electrical/ plumbing service, along with the interior wall framing and roof.
Significant dirt work, utilities and site phasing have already been performed, despite weather delays.
“We will have moved over 100,000 cubic yards of dirt over the project once we are complete,” Mann said. “The existing site was comprised of old fill material that had been placed on site in lieu of removing it from previous projects. Almost all soils had to be removed and replaced with suitable fill, because the soil composition on the site was not ideal for construction. It’s a very ’clayish’ soil that tends to absorb water and makes it difficult to maintain the maximum allowable moisture content for backfill operations.”
Already, the main telecommunication and power feeds have been relocated, and a new helipad has been installed. In addition, crews have put in long hours to complete a significant central energy plant expansion with zero disruption to facility utilities, and have installed new parking lots currently in use by the hospital. The steel structure has also been finished, as has all concrete work, with the exception of sidewalks and hardscapes.
Still to be carried out is the tying in of mechanical, electrical and plumbing feeds to the new addition from the existing plant. Crews must also complete drywall, casework installation and the installation of owner significant equipment. Existing hospital lobby renovations and emergency department renovations also are being addressed.
Materials used on the project include structural steel frame, EIFS and glass façade and aggregate pier foundations.
As for setbacks, Mann said an undiscovered waterline was an issue.
“We discovered an abandoned waterline that had to be relocated outside of the new addition footprint. Also, an existing fire line and power and telecommunication feeds located within the addition’s footprint had to be relocated before beginning construction.”
The chilly winter months should not be a factor moving forward, as most of the work will be inside the new addition. However, the most tedious parts of construction have involved the planning and logistics for tie-ins to the existing facility and renovations, which will take place in three phases, along with water infiltration control and vibration monitoring and minimization to mitigate the effect on imaging equipment adjacent to the site inside the existing facility.
“We meet with hospital staff each week to review, plan and discuss all potential impacts that could affect operations at the facility,” said Mann. “It’s gratifying to work on this project, because, upon completion, the hospital will serve the community’s expanding need for medical care. Because of their 24-hour operations and unique complexities that impact construction operations, hospitals are both challenging and interesting projects.”
The architectural firm selected for the project is Gresham Smith & Partners, which has extensive experience in the field of health care. Trevor Lee, AIA, Gresham Smith’s Jacksonville, Fla., office, said every effort was made to help the hospital realize its vision.
“As far as the expansion of the emergency room, we’re probably doubling the size from 15,000-square-feet to 30,000-square-feet. It’s not a trauma center, but we have designed two new trauma-ready rooms where staff can stabilize patients very quickly, before they are transferred to either Atlanta or Chattanooga.”
Lee said that a seamless transition was extremely important to the client.
“This project was specifically designed to match the existing hospital. We were asked to make it very modern and clean, but not outdo the rest of the campus. It’s about what’s going on in the inside, as far as how the spaces function and interact with the existing campus.”
Although not a LEED building, the design team implemented a number of sustainability features, including light wells separating the new and existing emergency departments with connecting corridors. The design increases light levels while providing a view of nature by incorporating evergreen-type bamboo plants. In addition, low VOC content material and recycled materials are being used during construction.
“We always look for ways to ensure the envelope of the building is as energy-efficient as it can be, while doing so in an affordable way,” said Lee.
According to Lee, using more substantial insulation keeps patients rooms more stable and reduces overall expenses of the hospital.
The plans also call for converting the original ER waiting room into a space where ambulance drivers can take much needed breaks and do paperwork.
“That’s a feature you don’t see in most emergency departments,” Lee said. “The new emergency department waiting room is very modern, clean and bright, and nothing like the old one.”
“This is an exciting project for us,” said Weber. “It’s a large undertaking; however, it is necessary for our continued growth, and it will make things easier for our patients and visitors by streamlining access to our services.”
The expansion and renovation should be completed by fall 2015.