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Suffolk Construction Oversees Newport Hospital Renovation

Mon September 10, 2018 - Northeast Edition
Ken Liebeskind -CEG- Correspondent


The project, which began in July and is scheduled for completion in October 2019, is currently in the demolition phase, part of a five-stage project that will be completed while the emergency wing remains operable
The project, which began in July and is scheduled for completion in October 2019, is currently in the demolition phase, part of a five-stage project that will be completed while the emergency wing remains operable

A $12.5 million construction project at Newport Hospital will renovate the emergency department (ED) and update it to address contemporary treatment needs.

The project, which began in July and is scheduled for completion in October 2019, is currently in the demolition phase, part of a five-stage project that will be completed while the emergency wing remains operable.

“If we could close down the area, it would be a single stage project, but we can't go below the number of treatment beds,” said Pam Crocker, the hospital's director of facilities services and planning.

“There's no trick to the phasing,” said Mike Forth, vice president of operations at Suffolk Construction, the Newport Hospital contractor. “There has to be a minimum impact to daily operations.”

The additional phases of the job will expand the emergency department, increasing the number of treatment rooms from 17 to 29 and add a new behavioral health section.

“It's quite an adventure,” Crocker said. “We're taking over adjacent space, expanding the work area and opening a new treatment facility.”

The existing area is 10,600 sq. ft. The new one will be 21,000 sq. ft. that almost doubles the current space.

Lauren Homme, a spokesperson for EH4 Environments for Health Architecture, the design firm on the job, said, “The additional space was captured by relocation of the hospital's security operations and badging office, relocation of an existing outpatient practice, and relocation of some administrative offices. Additionally, some public corridors were simplified and made internal only to the new ED.”

Forth said the job is an interior renovation, so no new steel is required and the only concrete is to infill where the slab is cut for new plumbing. About 30 yds. of concrete will be needed.

“The meat of this project is the MEP coordination with the med gasses and HVAC all within an occupied emergency room,” he said. “There is not a lot of room above the ceiling so it is a challenge. The med gasses are tied to life safety, so need to be 100 percent operational at all times. These are directly tied to patient care. We have connections to all of these systems that require extensive planning and coordination. The MEP services all have to remain operational as we are doing our work as this is an occupied space.”

The new behavioral health area was designed as a unit with four exam rooms specially designed for behavioral and substance abuse patients.

“This unit is located in a slightly more remote portion of the ED so that possible disruption from BH patients can more easily be mitigated,” Homme said. “In addition to the four patient rooms, the sub-unit contains a dedicated secure nurse station with video monitoring capabilities and is appointed with anti-ligature and tamper-proof devices we selected to be easily cleaned.”

The last significant renovation to Newport Hospital's emergency department was made 20 years ago. When asked why the new renovation is occurring now, Crocker said, “There have been some aesthetic renovations over the years, but we've been embarking on a strategic plan for the past three years with new leadership that has overseen the change.”

The renovation will enable Newport Hospital to better address current healthcare needs.

“We can focus on behavioral and substance abuse and better observation of patients to meet the needs of the community,” Crocker said.

E4H designed the renovation, Suffolk Construction is contracting it and both firms worked with Newport Hospital on an Integrated Project Delivery plan to coordinate the job.

“The IPD was a collaborative process to get value out of the owner, architect and contractor,” Crocker said.

“It helped us get together as a team to develop the most efficient way to build the project,” Forth said. “The architect works with the user and we come up with the most cost effective plan for the client. We're putting skin in the game to identify the cost and timeline and if we go over budget it comes out of our profit.”

Homme said, “EH4 led the concept and design phases with close support from the contractor who provided constructability, cost, and schedule information for consideration.”

The $12.5 million construction cost is being supported by a capital campaign the hospital is coordinating. Newport Hospital received a $3 million gift from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust. “We are thrilled that the Foundation and Trust are so committed to helping Newport Hospital provide the very best in care when our patients need us the most,” said Crista Durand, president of Newport Hospital.

“It's time that the expertise and compassion our caregivers provide are complemented by a healing environment that is spacious, modern and comfortable for patients and families, she added.”

Newport Hospital chose Suffolk Construction for the job after a lengthy review process in which a number of firms were interviewed. “I don't know if we've worked with them before but we went through the RFP process to get them on board,” Crocker said. “Our purchasing department would say it's a number of factors, including their experience with the emergency process.”

Forth said Suffolk is the largest health care builder in New England, that is currently working on a number of regional jobs, including the Boston Children's Hospital tower, the Bay State Health Center in Springfield and the Nantucket Cottage Hospital.

“Our job in Newport is to minimize the impact to daily operation and give them more beds in a more efficient space to treat patients with state of the art technology and equipment. We will also provide more square footage for the behavioral health center within the emergency department,” Forth said.