BJC West County Hospital, Florissant Siteman Cancer Center on Track for 2019 Finish

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By KERRY SMITH, Editor 

(Jul-Aug 2019 Issue of St. Louis Construction News & Review Magazine)

Two high-profile healthcare construction projects – one in Creve Coeur and one in Florissant – are on target to be substantially completed this year.

Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, a replacement facility adjacent to the existing 47-year-old facility of the same name, is being built by joint venture PARIC/KAI and designed by Christner. The 6-story, 260,000-square-foot healthcare destination is part of BJC HealthCare’s overhaul of the 54-acre campus, including construction of an adjacent 125,000-square-foot medical office building. It’s expected to be substantially complete in early August.

The new West County Hospital’s 64 rooms are all private patient rooms. A total of 14 operating rooms are built, with the capability to expand up to 100 patient rooms and 16 ORs as future healthcare demands dictate.

Specialty care areas of the new Barnes-Jewish West, according to BJC HealthCare, include colorectal, gastroenterology, joint reconstruction and replacement, interventional radiology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, spine thoracic, urology and vascular surgery.

BJC HealthCare declined to specify the project’s construction cost, but healthcare industry analysts estimate the new facility to be approximately $100 million. The site is located at Olive Boulevard and Mason Road, one mile west of Interstate 270 in Creve Coeur.

Michael Hayes, project manager for BJC, said the new hospital will provide short-stay surgical and medical care.

“Phasing was a big challenge as we worked around an existing, functioning hospital,” said Hayes. “At times, we worked within 12 feet of the central utility plant for the existing Barnes-Jewish West County hospital to the corner of the new hospital. This phased work will continue into 2020 after the main hospital component is open.”

Daniel Conaway, PARIC senior project manager, said preliminary sitework began in November 2016 with early-phase parking repositioning on the site. Ground broke for the start of the hospital’s construction in March 2017.

“We’re on an existing campus with multiple buildings,” Conaway said, “so site logistics required us to create some additional parking and shuffle components around.”

Because the existing emergency department entrance is situated 30 feet above grade, PARIC/KAI and partner Geotechnology Inc. engineered and installed 15,000 cubic yards of a lightweight, low-density, load-reducing fill known as Elastizell to reduce settlement and ensure that access complies with accessibility standards. The project team also adjusted the design of 33,000 square feet of slab on grade to a structural slab during the construction phase to support the structure floors and prevent future settlement.

“We made the decision to suspend the underground mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems by tying them to the structural slab itself rather than the traditional trenching and stub up,” Conaway said. “Suspending the systems enables the soil to settle around the systems without pulling them away from the structure.”

Joel Weinhold, regional manager for Geotechnology Inc., and Matt Melly, project manager for the materials testing phase, said they performed a second round of borings due to roadway changes specific to access to the new hospital.

Floor flatness was a chief focus of the project, according to PARIC/KAI. To ensure flatness, PARIC/KAI adjusted some steel tolerances to achieve tighter control and the best quality with regard to concrete installation. “We used a floor-mapping technique that employed a FARO Focus3D S350 laser scanner and the Rithm Inspector App. This technology gave us the ability to create floor flatness reports and automatically measure slopes and cross slopes to ensure industry standards and specified requirements were being met,” Conaway said.

Across town in north St. Louis County, Siteman Cancer Center’s newest location at I-270 and Graham Road in Florissant broke ground in July 2018 and is on track for substantial completion by late December. The $26.3 million, 36,900-square-foot project was designed by Archimages and is being built by Tarlton.

The technology-savvy treatment center is a joint project between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It replaces an interim outpatient facility established in July 2017 on the Christian Hospital campus six miles west of the project site.

Tarlton Project Manager Sarah Mangapora said unique construction components include building the space to house the linear accelerator – which will deliver radiation therapy – and space to accommodate the computed tomography (CT) scanner that combines multiple X-ray images to pinpoint locations of tumors.

“The linear accelerator takes 2 months to put in – 1 month of installation and 1 month of calibration,” Mangapora said. “All the walls and the ceiling encasing the linear accelerator measure 4 feet to 6 feet thick and are equipped with lead-lined drywall to contain the radiation. The accelerator itself measures more than 26 feet wide by 26 feet long.”

One half of the facility will be occupied by WUSTL medical oncology personnel. BJC radiation infusion personnel will occupy the other half.

BJC HealthCare Project Manager Shawn Gillam said one notable construction challenge was relocating a very large, open MSD stormwater channel that bisected the site. “It was definitely a construction schedule driver,” said Gillam. “It encompassed 977 feet of 84-inch precast concrete.”

The scope of construction included plans to equip the new Siteman Cancer Center to be able to expand with a second linear accelerator vault and additional infusion treatment space as needed.

The center’s design features a family waiting lounge with fireplace, a conference room that will double as a community room and a healing garden with a landscaped walkway and outdoor seating.

Guarantee Electrical Co.’s David Gralike, president of the firm’s Missouri branch, said GECO provided turn-key electrical services for both hospital projects. “We’ve done half of a billion dollars in healthcare work within the past 5 years,” Gralike said. “We’re generally brought on early as an integrated project delivery partner because it takes time to perform the modeling and pre-design well before the planning and specification phases.”

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