Selected from more than 800 projects, the VA’s first P3 healthcare facility
was honored at ENR’s Award of Excellence Gala in New York City on March 31.
The trailblazing Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center, designed by LEO A DALY and built by McCarthy Building Companies, has been named national Project of the Year and overall Best in Healthcare by Engineering News-Record (ENR). Representing the pinnacle of design and construction achievement in the U.S., the project rose through ENR’s regional awards program in 2021 and received ENR Midwest’s best healthcare project award. It has earned more than a dozen design and construction awards to date.
Several members of the project team were recognized in front of more than 600 industry professionals at Pier 60 in New York City during ENR’s Award of Excellence Gala on March 31. The Best of the Best crystal award was presented the following morning during the Best of the Best Awards Breakfast.
“Expanding healthcare resources for Omaha’s veterans community has been a labor of love for the entire design and construction team,” said McCarthy Senior Vice President Ryan Sawall. “We’re thrilled to be recognized by our industry peers.”
Designed and Built for Veterans
Part of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, the three-level, 157,000-SF outpatient facility is connected to an existing 12-story VA hospital built in 1950. It relieved the hospital of most primary care services for the region’s more than 40,000 veterans. It also created an additional entry to the main hospital that expresses honor for its veteran occupants. A kaleidoscope of colored light throughout the main corridor evokes the colors awarded to military service members for acts of valor. That experience was created using a glass curtain wall with colored laminate along the western façade. A 50-by-235-foot curtain wall along the northern façade leads occupants to the main entry, expresses the windblown pattern of an American flag and reduces electric lighting loads on all three levels using healthy, natural daylight.
The facility houses seven primary-care clinics, including one exclusively for women veterans, and a specialty-care clinic. An operating suite includes five operating rooms whose sustainable engineering helped the project achieve energy use 26.2 percent below code.
Shaped by Teamwork
The Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center was funded through the first-ever public-private partnership (P3) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Private donors contributed $30 million to make the project a reality after the VA allocated $56 million. Teamwork created an opportunity for a new delivery process that combined elements from traditional public- and private-sector delivery. Unlike previous VA projects, the Construction Manager (McCarthy) joined the project team concurrent to design, which helped achieve $34 million in savings vs. traditional project delivery through early collaboration and co-selection of subcontractors. The schedule was abbreviated from 52 months to 36 months.
Through close coordination between the design and construction teams, the final project cost was within 1 percent of the original $67 million conceptual budget estimate provided during the project’s design phase. Lean construction practices enabled the team to meet the contractual completion date, despite experiencing 43 days of weather impacts during the project’s structural phase. Team members developed and implemented enhanced safety practices at the start of the pandemic, and the project recorded zero lost-time incidents.
Other McCarthy projects honored during ENR’s Award of Excellence Gala include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Nancy and Rich Kinder Building in Houston (Cultural Worship Category) and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, a McCarthy and Mortenson JV (Sports Entertainment Category).