Hoar Construction photo
Demolition of the site, including the abandoned storm sewer, existing parking lot, trees, curb and gutter, has taken place, along with the relocation of overhead power and communication lines and underground utilities.
A new skilled nursing care center in Scottsboro, Ala., is scheduled to open this fall, as construction crews continue work on the 31,000 sq. ft. (2,879.9 sq m) facility. The Jackson County Health Care Authority developed the one-story center, which replaces an existing structure.
“Highlands Health & Rehab provides excellent care, however the facilities are older and space is limited,” said Jennifer McCurdy, marketing manager, Highlands Medical Center. “With the new construction, residents will receive the same quality of care, only in a new facility.
The current building is dated, with the majority of the rooms being semi-private or even quad rooms. The new facility will feature mostly private rooms.
“This project is not only exciting for Highlands Health & Rehab, but also for the entire community which is positively impacted through economic growth specifically linked to the new construction,” said McCurdy.
Because the elderly population is changing, officials felt it was necessary to address their needs with a new building.
“The largest projected demographic growth in Jackson County is the elderly community,” McCurdy said. “A recent community needs assessment indicated the elderly population in Jackson County will grow by 14.3 percent by 2018.
“Being able to offer a new facility with private rooms and upgraded facilities will offer the residents of Jackson County a state-of-the-art skilled nursing facility to accommodate their needs.”
The new building will be attached to Highlands Medical Center, as is the existing facility. The current structure will be utilized, but at this point there are no definite plans for the space.
The North wing of the 50-bed skilled nursing center will contain 11 private units dedicated to short-term rehab, including physical, occupational and speech therapy. The two other wings are dedicated to traditional long-term care.
Last October, Highlands Health & Rehab officials hosted a groundbreaking for the project, which included representatives from general contractor Hoar Construction.
“Shallow foundations and the slab on grade are being constructed,” said Micah Vance, Hoar project manager. “Underground utilities for the building are being installed, and the storm outlet headwall is being constructed.”
As for the amount of dirt being moved on the project, rough grading involves 7,000 sq. yds. (5,852.9 sq m) with 15,000 cu. yds. (11,468.3 cu m) for fill and 3,400 cu. yds. (2,599.5 cu m) undercut unsuitable soils.
Demolition of the site, including the abandoned storm sewer, existing parking lot, trees, curb and gutter, has taken place, along with the relocation of overhead power and communication lines and underground utilities. Crews have already poured the footing and poured slab on grade for Wings A, B and have started CMU firewall where the new building ties into the existing building. The tear down of brick and canopy at the tie-in to the existing facility is finished, and workers have completed all site undercutting and backfill and all building pads.
“The main tasks at the moment are to finish the slab on grade and footing for Wings C, D, and the center core,” said Vance. “Also, to start load bearing light gauge metal walls in Wings A and B and start structural steel and light gauge trusses.
“The site is tight, relative to the size of the building. It takes a lot of pre-planning and coordination to get all of the subcontractors working in different areas to keep construction progress moving forward and to turn the building over in a timely manner. Due to the tie-in into the existing building, another major challenge is coordinating with the hospital to make sure we are causing the least amount of disturbance to the existing residents and staff. The site is adjacent to wetlands that must not be disturbed.”
Vance said special planning was required due to the nature of the building.
“Due to this being a health care facility, there’s a lot of pre-planning involved to look at the quality of the project.
“With a tie-in to the existing building, we must meet the hospitals infection control requirements. We do mockups of the patient headwalls to make sure everything is in the correct location the staff needs it to be in, in order to operate the facility. We do mockups of the whole patient room and work with the facility to make sure the rooms function as they need them to.”
According to Tony Lacy, Hoar superintendent, the building was designed to save money.
“The facility is designed to operate economically based on having a center core with the residence wings connected to it. One nurse station can service all of the wings. The new facility will fill a much-needed service for the community for years to come.”
Outdoor conditions, however, have been less than ideal for building the new structure.
“We’ve had a lot of rain that has caused some delays, as has the cold weather,” Lacy said. “Total delays are roughly three weeks to date, due to weather.”
Equipment on site includes track hoes for undercutting unsuitable soils and loading dump trucks and excavation for new storm lines.
Dump trucks are being used to haul unsuitable soils offsite, while hauling in suitable soils and stone. Crews are utilizing a sheepsfoot roller for compacting the site, a bulldozer to spread fill and perform grading, and a grader for final grading of the building pads. Other heavy machinery includes a backhoe, skid steers for moving stone, performing minor excavations and placing stone for the building pad, as well as a mini excavator, a pump truck, concrete trucks, cranes for structural steel and trusses and a lull for unloading and moving materials.
Materials used on the project include 1,000 cu. yds. (764.5 cu m) of concrete for footings, slab on grade and sidewalks, light gauge load bearing walls, light gauge metal trusses, structural steel, 13,000 square feet (1207.7 sq m) of split face block for exterior wall veneer, 70 windows, 35,000 sq. ft. (3,251.6 sq m) of metal roof panels, gypsum board interior walls, acoustical ceiling tiles, VCT and tile flooring and casework.
“Hoar Construction is proud to be part of the Highlands Health & Rehab project,” said Nick Cotumaccio, director of operations. “We have put a great deal of effort into the preconstruction process working with Highlands Health and Rehab and the consultants to ensure this project, when complete, will offer patients the best possible facilities to provide quality care.”
The project was originally priced about two years ago and was stalled due to cost constraints. After evaluating the plans, KPS and Hoar developed a list of value engineering solutions that were presented to the hospital. Nearly $620,000 in cost was removed from the project without any impacts to the services that will be provided.
Cotumaccio said, “Highlands Medical Center has been serving the medical needs for the residents of Scottsboro, Alabama for over 60 years. The hospital has recognized the need for additional beds so that it can continue to provide the level of care that the residents have come to expect and deserve.”
The facility is designed with a central dining area, large multi-purpose room, administrative offices and a central nurse’s station with requisite support spaces, including clean and soiled utility rooms, janitor room, nourishment room, pharmacy/med preparation and a wheelchair/stretcher storage room. Once the new structure is completed, residents will move from the old facility into the new one.
KPS Group served as project architect.
“The vision was actually Highlands’ because they have a very efficient building in Bridgeport they wanted to duplicate,” said Kristine Harding, vice president, group manager of Huntsville Group. “The location of the project is partially in a wetlands area, and the footprint of the building being a pinwheel did not lend itself to minimizing the land use. The permit process for the wetlands delayed the project beyond the original planned bid date.”
Working on a structure that’s tied to an existing building was challenging for all parties involved.
“The existing structure has code and structural conditions that need to be considered and, many times, brought into line to meet the scope of the new building,” Harding said. Additionally, access to the existing building during construction cannot be limited, and a safe path for emergency egress must be defined.
“Signage must be clear and make sense from one wing to the next, so as to not confuse the occupants. Doors must limit access and also serve as emergency egress through complex security door hardware. Having the building connected to the hospital provides a lot of benefits for access to hospital services.”
Environmental issues also were a concern.
“KPS designs all of our buildings with sustainability in mind to include engineering systems and building materials. Dealing with the wetlands also contributed to sustainable considerations.”
Harding also commented that the aesthetics and functionality don’t necessarily affect each other adversely.
“The building footprint and program layout must be functional and then adding the interior or exterior materials contributes to the aesthetics. The choice of building materials depends a great deal on context, and with this being an addition to an existing hospital, there are materials that we must match and also materials that the hospital dictates due to ease of maintenance and repeat vendors.”
“It’s been a long time coming and much awaited,” Highlands Health & Rehab Administrator Bo Butler said to reporters. “The staff and the community are very excited and proud that we’re getting a new facility. We look forward to continuing to care for the people of our community for years to come in this new facility.”