Tarlton Completes Mass Concrete Work for Proton Therapy Vault


St. Louis general contractor/construction manager Tarlton Corp., in partnership with Otto Baum Company Inc., concrete and masonry contractors, completed the concrete construction of a new proton therapy vault for PointCore Construction adjacent to the OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute, a regional destination center in Peoria, Illinois.

The $5.5 million, below-grade vault is attached to the cancer treatment center on the campus of the OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center. It is the second proton therapy vault the Tarlton Concrete Division has constructed in the last five years. Proton therapy, a relatively new technology, allows oncologists to target radiation directly without significantly damaging the surrounding healthy tissue, providing the patient with fewer short- and long-term side effects and a smaller chance of recurrence.  

An interior view of mass concrete vault walls that illustrate the complexity of concrete construction. Photo courtesy of PointCore Construction.

The team constructed a 4,520-cubic-yard concrete vault, inside of which was placed state-of-the-art equipment manufactured by Varian Medical Systems Inc., for noninvasive cancer treatment. Unlike many radiation centers, the OSF proton vault has no lead lining. Extremely precise structural concrete work was required to prevent the escape of any proton radiation. The substantial concrete walls, which include some over 25 feet thick, are designed to stop and absorb traveling protons.

To ensure all mass concrete pours were placed and cured properly, consistent communication and coordination between all trade partners was essential. The Tarlton Concrete project team included Kevin Oakley, project director; Brian Julius, project manager; Kurt Aubuchon, senior project engineer; and Jeff Vogt, project superintendent. Otto Baum Company Inc. supplied all labor, equipment and construction materials for the project. Doka USA Ltd., a leader in concrete formwork and shoring systems, fully engineered the concrete formwork to minimize deflections and maintain concrete tolerances.

A thermal control plan, critical to the execution of the pours, was developed in conjunction with CTL Group, an internationally recognized engineering, architecture and materials science consulting firm. The plan included a specific temperature control plan for each individual pour. Temperature sensors were placed in each pour to carefully monitor and track temperature differentials. The team maintained the schedule by streamlining a blockout process for adjacent concrete pours that allowed them to reduce the cure time between pours without sacrificing the integrity and quality of the concrete.  

About PointCore Construction

Based in Peoria, Illinois, PointCore Construction, a health care program and construction management company, was launched in May, 2019 as a joint venture of OSF HealthCare and Core Construction, with a mission to design and build cutting-edge health care facilities. Core Construction, founded in 1937, provides best-in-class construction services and is one of the industry’s foremost providers of integrated project delivery methods, program management and advanced construction technology. With 20 offices located in eight U.S. states, Core Construction is recognized as a Top 100 ENR Contractor, having completed projects in 30 states.

About Tarlton

Having celebrated its 75th year in business in 2021,Tarlton Corp. is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that provides outstanding preconstruction, construction and design-build solutions to clients in the commercial, institutional, government and nonprofit, industrial and power and energy markets. The Midwest general contractor/construction manager also has special expertise in concrete construction, restoration and maintenance. Tarlton has completed many landmark St. Louis projects and is committed to improving lives through inclusive construction, civic engagement and service to others.

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