December 27, 2018

When three years of dreaming, planning and building concluded, a new standard for patient-centered cancer care began as the Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center welcomed its first patients in Jacksonville, Florida. DPR Construction teamed with customer, Baptist Health, and a strong team of design and contracting partners to deliver the new, 330,000-sq.-ft., nine-story cancer treatment center, creating new possibilities for care providers and patients near Florida’s First Coast.

Rallying–and collaborating–for a cause

Baptist MD Anderson Cancer center creates welcomed its first patients in Jacksonville, Florida during September of 2018
The new, 330,000-sq.-ft., nine-story Baptist MD Anderson Cancer center welcomed its first patients in Jacksonville, Florida in September of 2018. Photo courtesy of Tom Harris

Knowing the customer saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime project, DPR turned to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) to comprehensively understand the needs of the owner, to draw upon the expertise of local trade partners and to build trust and rapport with project stakeholders. The team included local contractor Perry McCall Construction and design partners HKS, FreemanWhite and Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.; all partners collectively utilized a co-located “Big Room” as a hub for operations. The team was so focused on collaboration that after Hurricane Irma destroyed the co-location site in August 2017, they created a new and improved Big Room with a renewed synergy and sense of purpose within weeks.

DPR turned to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) to comprehensively understand the needs of the owner and others.
DPR turned to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) to comprehensively understand the needs of the owner, to draw upon the expertise of local trade partners and to build trust and rapport with project stakeholders. Photo courtesy of Tom Harris

DPR also drew on the knowledge and skills from its network of projects nationwide. Self-performing trades—such as concrete, doorframes, hardware and acoustical ceilings—on a facility of this size meant sourcing help from DPR craftspeople across multiple states, including California, Texas and North Carolina. This strategy not only contributed to the on-time delivery of the center, but resulted in considerable cost savings and unparalleled quality discoverable in even the smallest design details, as well.

Technical expertise bridges the old with new

A key aspect to successful delivery—and a significant technical challenge—was connecting the existing patient tower to the new cancer center by way of a 150-ton glass and steel enclosed pedestrian skybridge. Erection of the prefabricated bridge required meticulous planning for nearly a year prior to installation. Spanning across 124 feet of one of Jacksonville’s most traveled local thoroughfares, San Marco Boulevard, the bridge required installation with no disruption to patients, visitors and the public—in addition to Baptist Health’s existing emergency department.

A key technical challenge was connecting the existing patient tower to the new cancer treatment center.
A key technical challenge was connecting the existing patient tower to the new cancer treatment center by way of a 150-ton glass and steel enclosed pedestrian skybridge. Photo courtesy of Tom Harris

The team explored options for the bridge’s frame system, exterior detailing, interior design features and MEP layouts while working with the hospital to understand how the bridge could be installed to maximize the facility’s ability to serve its patients.

Bridge erection involved two, 450-ton cranes that placed the structure on top of two, 36,000-pound trusses. The team planned MEP tie-ins between the two towers and the bridge with provisions for any contingency, and work at the outpatient facility was scheduled at night to avoid disruption of care and life safety systems. Additionally, 4D building information modeling kept the project moving on a fast-track, enabling prefabrication of significant electrical, plumbing and mechanical components, saving time during the construction process.

Work at the outpatient facility was scheduled at night to avoid disruption of care and life safety systems.
Work at the outpatient facility was scheduled at night to avoid disruption of care and life safety systems. Photo courtesy of Tom Harris

Remarkable partnerships, remarkable care

Nearly 1,200 construction workers from 45 different contractors and partners contributed to the new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center. Together, they have delivered an advanced cancer treatment center that will provide remarkable care in the Southeast region of the United States for years to come.

DPR's SPW crews self-performed concrete, doorframes, hardware and acoustical ceilings.
DPR's SPW crews self-performed concrete, doorframes, hardware and acoustical ceilings. Photo courtesy of Tom Harris