May 22, 2019

Top Gun House Straps in for Its Next Mission

It’s not every day that you see a cultural landmark rolling down the street, but that’s exactly what happened to beachgoers in Oceanside, California earlier this month. The “Top Gun House,” a sky blue beach cottage made famous by the 1980s Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun,” was relocated from its long-time home on palm-lined Pacific Street. It will be restored and prominently featured at a new independently branded beachfront destination resort being built in Oceanside. Developer SD Malkin Properties broke ground on the Oceanside Beach Resort in February.

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

Located at the hub of Oceanside’s booming renaissance, the 2.75-acre new-build project along Mission Avenue and N. Pacific Street will offer guests immediate beach access and 387 rooms, 85% of which will have water views. The resort will also feature restaurants, bars, pools, a luxury spa, event space and unique retail shops, including the “Top Gun House,” which will be publicly accessible and leased as a bespoke ice cream parlor. Already popular given its historical significance and feature in the classic 1980’s film, the house is expected to garner even more interest after the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” featuring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. It is scheduled for release in Summer 2020.

DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, worked on the house to get it ready for its big move. “It’s amazing how much interest there is in this house,” said Project Executive Whitney Dorn. The project team nailed wood slats to the porch and braced some of the exterior before hoisting it onto the trailer that transported it to its temporary home two blocks away. The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

The cottage was originally known as the Graves House and was built in1887. Photo courtesy of Oceanside Historical Society

Built in 1887, the cottage was originally known as The Graves House in honor of its original owner, a physician from Riverside. One of the oldest beach cottages in San Diego County, it boasts an unusual architectural style: Folk Victorian. Designed to evoke the more elaborate Victorian homes of the era, Folk Victorian found favor among homeowners in the late 19th Century due to its ease and affordability. Spindlework detailing and cornice brackets were added to existing homes to create the style, which became common as Western towns were settled around the turn-of-the-century.

The house later became a beach rental before making its appearance as the home of Tom Cruise’s love interest in the movie “Top Gun,” which grossed over $360 million (more than $800 million in 2019 dollars)—the highest grossing film of 1986. It starred Cruise as a brash young naval aviator training at the elite Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The film became a cultural sensation; sales of bomber jackets and aviator sunglasses skyrocketed, Navy recruitment increased, and tourists began taking their photos in front of the newly dubbed “Top Gun House.”

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort.

Fast forward to 2019: Interest in the house has held strong, the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to open in June of 2020, and the resort’s hotels are expected to open by the end of that same year. 2020 looks to be a blockbuster year for the city of Oceanside.

May 14, 2019

UVA Health System Demonstrates Innovation Through Renovation

Earlier this year, the University of Virginia Health System continued a rich tradition of innovation coupled with community service by completing an extensive renovation of its Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health floors at UVA Medical Center. The facility is a 600-bed teaching hospital that serves as the Regional Perinatal Center for Northwest and Central Virginia and is home to 6 ranked Pediatric programs by US News and World Report.

The University of Virginia Health System recently completed an extensive renovation of its Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health floors at UVA Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

With the goal of improving its function, usefulness and appearance, this 58,000-sq.-ft. interior renovation project was a complex, three-year endeavor. DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, worked with architect HKS, Inc. to navigate the challenges of renovating this key area of the hospital, which remained operational throughout construction while prioritizing the safety of its patients. Since the renovations encompassed roughly half of the 7th floor and nearly as much of the 8th, it was necessary for the team to take a well-coordinated approach to design implementation, a process that was carried out in five phases. Robust communication between the teams and the Medical Center was vital to ensure this was a smooth process.

Not only did the renovation deliver a cleaner look, it also improved hospital workflow. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

Fifteen post-partum rooms, several of which look out onto nearby Carter Mountain, were updated to make them more convenient and comfortable for new moms and their loved ones. Bathrooms and facilities were refreshed, and outdated furniture was replaced with more comfortable, updated pieces.

Bathrooms and facilities were also refreshed in the renovation. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

“The space really needed to be refreshed and updated from the 1980s,” said Dr. Christian Chisholm, UVA Health System Obstetrics Medical Director. Not only did the renovation deliver a cleaner look, it also improved hospital workflow. The medication area was expanded, making it easier for nurses to prepare medications. And with the renovated rooms being adjacent to the hospital’s delivery rooms, new moms are no longer required to switch floors after giving birth. There is also a central area from which nurses will monitor post-partum rooms, resulting in more privacy for patients and a more seamless process for hospital staff.

There is a central area from which nurses will monitor post-partum rooms, resulting in more privacy for patients and a more seamless process for hospital staff. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

Included in the renovation was the 14-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which admits about 1,000 children each year and is one of the Southeast’s top referral centers. The project also featured a 4-bed pediatric bone marrow transplant unit (BMT), a 34-bed acute pediatric unit with both private and semi-private rooms, a new continuing care nursery and procedure area, women’s health triage and family waiting areas. To maintain continuity, the team incorporated the established Children’s Hospital graphics, finishes, theme, and millwork into the existing Level 7 West and Central Units and Level 8 East and Central patient units.

With a resolve to move ever forward, UVA Health System’s Women’s Health and Children’s Hospital renovation lives up to its community’s ideals of innovation in service to its people.

May 2, 2019

DPR Reaches for the Clouds in Austin, Texas

Delivering a new landmark, DPR Construction celebrated the completion of its Domain 11 project. The project is part of what many consider to be Austin’s “second downtown” within the growing Domain North development.

In just over 17 months, DPR’s team, including a robust self-perform work (SPW) crew, constructed a 16-story office building and parking garage that contains a 338,900-sq.-ft., nine-level office core/shell and a 560,000-sq.-ft., seven-level parking structure. The ground floor includes parking, lobby, occupied office space and 8,100 sq. ft. of retail space. Targeting LEED® Silver certification, Domain 11 can be seen from miles away as the tallest office tower within the whole development.

“It’s pretty sweet, and Domain 11 was definitely the tallest Class A office tower to come to the Domain. It has made a visual statement as much as anything. You can see the Domain 11 & Domain 12 office towers from downtown’s {Austin} office towers,” says Brett Bickford, Project Manager in Austin.

Exterior View
The project is part of what many consider to be Austin’s “second downtown” within the growing Domain North development. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

Innovation Leads to Savings

DPR’s preconstruction team tapped into the SPW team’s concrete and formwork expertise to adapt the overall structure to better suit the customer. Originally, plans called for a concrete pan joist slab structure, which often requires extra labor and more time to construct the formwork system. SPW concrete crews instead used the Doka formwork table system, with tables up to 48’x 28’ in size, that could be quickly transferred to the next level, reducing the overall duration required to form the concrete frame structure.

Doka formwork
DPR’s preconstruction team tapped into the SPW team’s concrete and formwork expertise to adapt the overall structure to better suit the customer. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

Using the Doka formwork table system led to increased productivity and a tighter schedule. The method saved money and increased productivity on top of saving four weeks on the construction schedule.

Additionally, the formwork system provided a better concrete finish on the underside of the elevated decks. Exceeding expectations of a Class C finish, the customer was impressed when the concrete was close to a Class B finish, providing higher quality and featuring exposed structure in the design.

"We were consistent in DPR's values and goals for customer service. This was the second project with TIER REIT (developer). Client satisfaction was always top priority for our project team," said Brett.

Construction view
Using the Doka formwork table system led to increased productivity and a tighter schedule. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

Embracing the DPR culture on the jobsite with SPW

The Domain 11 team consciously worked to build a culture that made every worker feel like an integral part of construction. All of the SPW trade partners and the project management team worked in the same jobsite field office, fostering collaboration and inclusion between different partners. With a unified team, the relationship with the customer grew as everyone rallied for the same goal—the team finished concrete work a month early, translating to savings for the customer, and with clear communication, predictable outcomes were ensured.

SPW crew
The Domain 11 team consciously worked to build a culture that made every worker feel like an integral part of construction. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

“We had amazing SPW partnerships. This project team has strived to perform work as one team, eliminating the labels in the office (i.e. GC team, Concrete team, etc.). We are just DPR,” says Brett.

Above It All

Rising high above its surroundings, Domain 11 leaves its mark on the northern Austin skyline and gives people a new perspective of the city.

“This was a very exciting project to be a part of! The Tier Reit, Endeavor Real Estate Group, Gensler, DPR Construction team was one of the best I have worked with. This collaborative team produced a top-notch project and had fun doing it. Currently, the Domain 11 office building is the tallest building in North Austin. As the building was constructed, the higher the structure went the better you could see Austin’s downtown skyline. It was cool to see this new perspective of Austin. Soon, Domain will have its own skyline,” says Brandon Murphy, Project Executive.

DPR is looking forward to being a part of the “new downtown” as northern Austin continues to grow and innovate.

Exterior view
Rising high above its surroundings, Domain 11 leaves its mark on the northern Austin skyline and gives people a new perspective of the city. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

March 27, 2019

Design-Build Yields Great Results on New Jersey Project

DPR Construction recently completed a series of complex electrical and power monitoring upgrades on Merck’s Kenilworth, New Jersey campus that will help ensure scientific work there will go on without interruption for years to come. The work, which included upgrading five existing primary substations and associated feeder systems, along with the demolition of three substations in their entirety, showcased how DPR’s MEP expertise and approach to planning can lead to exceptional results and the kinds of predictable results customers rely on.

“This location is the world corporate headquarters for Merck, with active research and development labs and critical data center operations. Any impact to this campus could have major implications,” said Michael Abbatiello, Director of Engineering for Merck.

A new indoor electrical substation.
One of the new substations DPR installed on the campus. Photo courtesy of Michael Denora Photography

Getting Out of Tight Spaces

The Merck EM1/EM2 Substation and Feeder Replacement Project was a three-year project performed under a design-build contract in conjunction with a teaming agreement with Forest Electric, the electrical subcontractor. The project upgraded 40-year-old systems that were no longer as reliable as a global corporate headquarters and mission critical lab required. Executed without interrupting work on the active campus, DPR relocated one 26 kV substation into an existing structure while prefabricating and building another new 5 kV substation across campus. Both existing substations were demolished and the 26kV and 5kV cables feeding the campus’s eight major buildings were replaced. Additional work included the replacement of electrical equipment at two outdated 5kV substations, the demolition of an existing decommissioned substation, and a brand new 5kV substation to feed the main corporate administrations building on campus.

“This was a very complex project with a high risk of injury to people and disruption to Merck’s operations,” said Abbatiello. “Planning and communication between site operations and the project team was critical. This project outperformed others in this regard and it was a major contributor to its success. The overall execution and performance on this project was outstanding.”

Much of this technical work, however, needed to be coordinated with various campus stakeholders to ensure switching service from old to new infrastructure did not affect research and development of life saving medications. Additionally, much work required access to systems through manholes, which required confined space permits and heightened safety supervision. To alleviate this safety hazard, crews employed remote control cable cutters.

Complex electrical systems in the lab.
Work required managing technical, but high-risk work in tight spaces. Photo courtesy of Michael Denora Photography

“The remote control cable cutter was a practical and safe tool for cutting wires,” said DPR’s Brandon Bell. “The wireless remote communicates with the tool via a mutually exclusive connection, and a lineman can arm the cutter and move away from the area to perform the work safely.”

Winning Safety Performance

Indeed, safety was paramount throughout the project, with DPR’s team aligning with Merck’s existing safety culture. One key factor: customer involvement. Aided by the design-build approach, the entire team took safety to be its job, with the customer leading the way.

“It just goes to show how important owner and stakeholder involvement in safety is,” Bell said. “When we combine our own approach to safety with an owner that shares our safety value, it strongly reinforces our culture.”

The results speak for themselves: by March 2019, the project had amassed more than 200,000 worker-hours and one recordable incident. Merck recognized DPR for its efforts with one of its regional safety awards, highlighting its excellent safety practices.

Outdoor electrical systems.
Work on the campus took place in both complex indoor environments and outdoor areas where the elements presented a different set of challenges. Photo courtesy of Michael Denora Photography

Collaboration in Action

Ultimately, the use of a design-build contract in conjunction with a teaming agreement took what could have been just a successful project and turned it into an outperformer all around. The job was finished on schedule and under budget, aided by a collaborative approach that made delivery as seamless as possible.

“There were several instances where we had to deviate from the initial plan, such as moving away from fully prefabricated conduit racks because they wouldn’t work logistically,” Bell said. “In those instances, the integrated team was able to tackle the challenge together with no negative bearing to cost or schedule.”

In addition to safety, cost and schedule results, the high level of collaboration had a positive influence in building rapport with other project partners, as well.

“It was, easily, one of the best project experiences with subcontractors in several trades,” Bell said. “We were also able to train a variety of subs and partners in Lean techniques and associated systems, which means we can take the same approach to future work.”

February 28, 2019

Renovating a Hospital and Strengthening a Community

In Gloucester, Virginia, situated on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital (RWRH) celebrated the completed phases of its $55 million renovation and expansion with a ribbon cutting ceremony in January. Nearly 150 dignitaries, local officials and Riverside team members were in attendance to view the hospital’s new Surgical and Inpatient Services Building, which aims to better serve its patients and their loved ones.

Nearly 150 dignitaries, local officials and Riverside team members were in attendance to view the hospital’s new Surgical and Inpatient Services Building, which aims to better serve its patients and their loved ones. Photo courtesy of Sara Nicholas

The hospital’s Renovation and Expansion is the result of years of planning and is the most significant construction project in its more than 40-year history. It delivers a new two-story, 54,000-sq.-ft. surgical center with three new operating rooms, a more centrally located pharmacy, pre- and post-operative care, 36 new private patient rooms, and a new hospital entrance and lobby. The new emergency department will more than triple in size, expanding from 6,000 to 16,000 sq. ft. This creates room for seven more beds, three major treatment rooms, a trauma room, dedicated Family Care Room and a new waiting/lobby area to better service the more than 22,000 patients it sees each year.

The new Surgical Services Suite includes features such as camera-equipped, advanced LED lighting for surgical video integration. Photo courtesy of Sara Nicholas

The new Surgical Services Suite boasts features such as camera-equipped, advanced LED lighting for surgical video integration, as well as the ability to use any operating room for any surgical case, translating into greater scheduling flexibility. Each new pre-op room is fully private and is equipped with available music therapy. Thirteen post-surgery patient bays/rooms allow for increased patient privacy while supporting state-of-the-art infection prevention and monitoring. The new inpatient unit includes 36 next-generation, private inpatient rooms equipped with computer systems that can be monitored by nearby staff 24/7. With convertible sleeper sofas and additional seating for visitors and families, the renovation aims to improve the overall experience not only for patients, but for their loved ones as well.

The hospital’s Renovation and Expansion is the result of years of planning and the most significant construction project in its more than 40-year history. Photo courtesy of Sara Nicholas

According to Riverside, its services on the Middle Peninsula reflect the organizational mission of “caring for others as we would care for those we love.” That is a mission echoed by DPR Construction, general contractor on the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital campus project, as well as on two other campuses in the area—Riverside Regional Medical Center and Riverside Doctor’s Hospital Williamsburg. “For us, it’s not just about the project, it’s about the community,” said Greg Haldeman, a member of DPR’s Management Committee. DPR operated with decisions centered around concern for patient safety and with the goal of doing everything “to make sure the construction of the expansion and renovation of this active campus creates the least amount of impact possible for the patients of RWRH.”

The renovation delivers a new surgical center with three new operating rooms, a more centrally located pharmacy, pre- and post-operative care, 36 new private patient rooms, and a new hospital entrance and lobby. Photo courtesy of Sara Nicholas

The expansion and renovation of this vital medical facility is not just about adding more rooms and updating technology; it is about better serving the community. Riverside President and CEO Bill Downey summed up his view of the project by saying, “This is a great community and a great group of people, and we look forward to the next 40 years, as we continue to expand and grow further.”

February 8, 2019

Challenges Deliver Innovative Success in Baltimore

The University of Maryland Medical Center’s (UMMC) new labor and delivery unit is a place where mothers, babies, and loved ones can feel calm, safe, and ready for the road of delivery ahead. By renovating the 30,000-sq.-ft. delivery floor and updating mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) systems, DPR Construction revitalized the 25-year-old center, enabling UMMC to provide better treatment for the 80 percent of pregnancies in Baltimore, Maryland which are high risk.

Hospital room
DPR Construction revitalized the 25-year-old center, enabling UMMC to provide better treatment for the 80 percent of pregnancies in Baltimore, Maryland which are high risk. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Sauers

The renovation includes new areas for triage, obstetric observation, high risk obstetric special care, elective obstetric surgeries/procedures and fetal procedures, and enhanced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit services, and presents a significant upgrade for the surrounding community.

Leveraging Communications for Success

Working within a functioning hospital always poses challenges. Safety, infection control and continuity of care are paramount. Often, these types of renovations require multiple phases and continual communication with all stakeholders throughout the project. The team on the UMMC project took a nimble approach, which allowed them to listen to the customer needs and requirements and put work in place seamlessly—without disruption.

“DPR established themselves as a partner by integrating with the clinical and design teams just after a concept schematic was solidified,” said Jarret Horst, Project Manager for UMMC. “Their early involvement and enthusiastic participation positioned them to be able to respond to the ever-shifting needs of the project while understanding of the objectives of the UMMC team. They were able to navigate the renovation process while remaining dedicated to the ‘true north’ vision of the clinical customers.”

Operating room
Often, these projects require multiple phases because hospitals cannot shut down multiple operations at one time and require continual communication with all stakeholders throughout the project. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Sauers

For example, initial planning called for the project to be completed in five phases. However, when certain tenants could not vacate the space, the plan morphed into 12 phases, increasing the complexity of the renovation with respect to noise, wall and ceiling access, and infection control. With existing operating rooms above and the pediatric cardiac suite below, work on the 6th floor required careful planning, resulting in the team scheduling noisy work around the OR schedule and implementing a process whereby the OR staff was able to contact DPR should work need to be shut down immediately. DPR continuously checked in with hospital staff to ensure work was not adversely affecting patients.

Bringing the Past into the Present

Like many healthcare renovations, the project involved creating access points to install new plumbing and electrical services. DPR developed comprehensive phasing plans and an Infection Control Risk Assessment solution to allow for safe updating of the MEP systems, which dated back to the 1960s.

The MEP work was approached methodically, beginning with thorough investigation and followed up with detailed planning meetings inclusive of subcontractors and the UMMC facilities group. Multiple temporary services were put in place as systems were changed out, allowing for continual service to existing areas of the hospital.

Hospital Hallway
The MEP work was approached methodically, beginning with thorough investigation and followed up with detailed planning meetings inclusive of subcontractors and the UMMC facilities group. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Sauers

However, upgrades were not limited to elements behind the walls. “The aesthetics also needed an upgrade. Now patients see walls awash in bright blues and yellows. In the architecture and finishing, there are a lot of wings and curving, both in the walls and floors, all meant to soothe and relax patients,” said Sarah Crimmins, medical director of the obstetric care unit and an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Producing Great Results

Through collaborative efforts, DPR and UMMC have created a space that Baltimore residents can rely on to help them navigate the delivery process.

“The end result is a space the team is very proud of, in part because so many details have been well planned. Everybody is very proud and passionate about this place,” Crimmins says. “Everyone wants to make sure this is the best it can be for the people in Maryland and the people in Baltimore.”

Hospital room
The University of Maryland Medical Center’s (UMMC) new labor and delivery unit is a place where mothers, babies, and loved ones can feel calm, safe, and ready for the road of delivery ahead. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Sauers

January 9, 2019

DLR Opens the Doors to its first “Mega Scale” Data Center

Digital Realty (DLR), a real estate investment trust and leading global data center provider, recently opened its latest ground-up data center in Ashburn, Virginia. With the concrete tilt-up panels set in place for the 230,000-sq.-ft. building this summer, DLR’s first deployment of the “mega scale” prototype data center came online in only eight months—from ground breaking to IST/Occupancy.

The project team manages the start of the tilt-up panel installation, a key project milestone.
The project team manages the start of the tilt-up panel installation, a key project milestone. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin

Built to host a single customer, the project required a unique approach. DLR worked collaboratively with the customer and project team as the design evolved and adjusted needs accordingly. The confidential end user requirements incorporated a high-density rack layout, optimizing the dollar value of each rack. With power and cooling accounting for 80 percent of the data center operating costs, customers are trending towards this high-density layout which reduces the distance in cable runs and networks, minimizing the cooling and space footprint, resulting in increased efficiency. Every two years, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles, and the high-density layout offers more flexibility for these future needs.

DPR incorporated lessons learned from past buildouts through installing all future steel supports to eliminate re-work at the roof and through resequencing future equipment rigging to minimize the number of temporary roll-up doors. Now complete, Phase 1 includes a six-megawatt (MW) data hall. Once fully occupied, the building will have six separate data halls, built-out over the next two to three years, hosting 36MW of critical power.

More than 50 guests gathered to celebrate the opening of the new data center.
Now complete, Phase 1 includes a six-megawatt (MW) data hall. Once fully occupied, the building will have six separate data halls, built-out over the next two to three years, hosting 36MW of critical power Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin

More than 50 guests, including the customer, design partners, subcontractors, craftspeople and DPR employees celebrated the achievement, as well as the hard work and dedication put forth by all involved with the project. “We can’t thank all of you enough for your efforts to bring this one home,” Dan Kingman, Director of Construction for DLR, told the team. “This was an incredibly impressive performance by the DPR team. This was one of the most challenging and important projects Digital Realty has ever completed, and you more than delivered. Looking forward to continuing to build great things with you.”

More than 50 guests gathered to celebrate the opening of the data center and take a tour of the site.
More than 50 guests gathered to celebrate the opening of the data center and tour the new site. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin
“We can’t thank all of you enough for your efforts to bring this one home,” Dan Kingman
“We can’t thank all of you enough for your efforts to bring this one home,” Dan Kingman, Director of Construction for DLR, told the team. “This was an incredibly impressive performance by the DPR team. This was one of the most challenging and important projects Digital Realty has ever completed, and you more than delivered. Looking forward to continuing to build great things with you.” Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin

December 27, 2018

Collaborative Spirit and Technical Expertise Combine to Deliver a New Cancer Center in Jacksonville, Florida

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

November 27, 2018

Elevating Patient Care at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center

Employees of Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center left their mark on a multi-year master expansion project currently underway at the Athens, Georgia healthcare facility earlier this month. Piedmont Athens Regional staff members signed two steel beams days before they were hoisted into place signifying the first phase of the expansion—a fourth-floor addition of the Prince Tower Two—one of several towers on Piedmont Athens Regional’s campus.

Piedmont Athens Regional staff members signed two steel beams days before they were hoisted into place.
Piedmont Athens Regional staff members signed two steel beams days before they were hoisted into place signifying the first phase of the expansion—a fourth-floor addition of the Prince Tower Two. Photo courtesy of Andi King Wieczynski

In 2016, Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare acquired the 359-bed acute care hospital and has announced a phased master plan to expand services and amenities for the growing local community and the 17-county regional area surrounding Athens. Piedmont Athens Regional is home of Piedmont Healthcare’s east hub of services, which includes three other hospitals. Scheduled for completion in 2022, the master plan project includes:

  • 230,000 sq. ft. of new construction and 150,000 sq. ft of renovated space
  • Demolition of a four-story tower and replacement with a six-story, 64-bed patient tower
  • Multiple interior renovations to accommodate current capacity for the Prince Tower One, which is set to be demolished
  • Addition of a fourth floor to the three-story Prince Tower Two

With a main objective of improving delivery of patient care and operational efficiency, the project will also improve both vehicular and pedestrian circulation around the campus and simplify patient arrival, wayfinding and access.

Piedmont Athens Rendering
Scheduled for completion in 2022, the phased master plan project will expand services and amenities for the growing local community and the 17-county regional area surrounding Athens. Photo courtesy of SmithGroup

Before the beams were elevated atop the existing Prince Tower Two, construction partners and Piedmont Athens Regional employees, including Executive Director of Operations, Diane Todd, and Piedmont Athens Regional President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Charles Peck, came together to celebrate the monumental occasion. “Our mission, ‘to improve the lives and health of those we touch remains the same,” said Dr. Peck. “The opportunity to reach and care for more members of the Athens community is why today is such a significant first step for our future.”

The Athens Piedmont beam setting ceremony
“Our mission, ‘to improve the lives and health of those we touch remains the same,” said Dr. Peck. “The opportunity to reach and care for more members of the Athens community is why today is such a significant first step for our future.” Photo courtesy of Andi King Wieczynski

This is the fifth project DPR has executed for Piedmont Healthcare in the Atlanta area and the organization's first project for Piedmont Athens Regional. DPR is no stranger to the Athens community, however, as the team recently completed enhancements to the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium—the 10th largest football facility in the country. Integral to the success of Piedmont Athens Regional’s expansion include DPR’s project partners: program consultant, BDR, and architect of record, SmithGroupJJR and Trinity Health Group Architects.

November 9, 2018

The Loudoun Community Takes Center Stage During the Inova Loudoun Patient Tower’s Latest Milestone

Aligned around Inova Loudoun Hospital’s motto of “Stronger Together,” the project team, hospital staff and patients, donors, and members of the local community, came together to celebrate the latest milestone on the Inova Loudoun Hospital (ILH) Patient Tower project—the topping out of the steel penthouse which sits on top of the new seven-story concrete structure.

As one of the fastest growing counties in the country, the Loudoun County community has rallied behind the ILH Patient Tower project. Once complete, the new tower will bring additional services to the area, critical to maintaining the current level of care. “It’s not just the bricks and mortar, but the new services and new programs. [This facility] gives us the opportunity to really bring state-of-the-art technology to the community that people are accustomed to and used to,” said Deborah Addo, Inova Loudoun CEO.

The original hospital was built to hold 82 patients while the new tower will accommodate 228 new patient beds, keeping up with current demands for patient space and allowing space for future growth, as well. “It is about progress and investing in the community we serve. This will help ensure that Loudoun County residents have access to quality health care well into the future,” Ben Frank, chief of staff and chief operating office for Inova Health System added.

This project, scheduled for completion in 2020, is just one phase of ILH’s $300 million master plan for expansion of facilities and services. As the project reached this latest milestone, it was important to the project team to recognize all the individuals and organizations that have helped make this project a reality. A series of events were planned, including beam signings and celebrations, honoring the entire team, from the subcontractors in the field to the critical network of facilities within the Inova Loudoun family that each support the main campus.

Subcontractors sign the wall, leaving their mark on the project during the concrete topping out celebration.
Subcontractors signed the wall, leaving their mark on the project during the concrete topping out celebration. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin

The first event was the “topping out” of the seven-story concrete structure, which celebrated the efforts of more than 250 workers who got the team to the top, one week ahead of schedule.

Each of the workers left their mark by signing a concrete wall, followed by a team barbeque and a thank you message delivered by Addo and the DPR project team. Kimberly Shumaker, senior project manager for the ILH project, spoke about the importance of the team and working together towards a common goal. “Achieving this milestone is a testament to the level of teamwork exemplified by all,” Shumaker states. “I am so proud to be celebrating this moment with such a tremendous group of individuals.”

Beam signing at the Inova Ashburn HealthPlex, first stop on the beam signing tour.
The steel beams went on a roadshow to other Inova campuses—first stop was the Inova Ashburn HealthPlex. Photo courtesy of Inova Staff Member

Prior to the official steel topping out, the final steel beams went on a roadshow to each of the Inova campuses that support the greater Loudoun community. Thanking members of the campuses for their support and uniting them under the “Stronger Together” belief, the roadshow, termed “breakfast with the beam,” allowed staff and donors to sign the beams and leave their mark. Some employees listed children born at the hospital, others thanked their parents and other family members, and others simply signed their name to be part of history. As Addo wrote on the beam, our work lives on!

“When you think about it, we have been providing care to this community for more than 100 years. Many of our employees began and ended their careers here, their kids were born here, their parents died here,” says Addo. “This is a special place for them, it’s not just a place of work, it really is home, it’s a community.”

Deborah Addo signs the beam at Inova Ashburn HealthPlex, honoring the work of the staff of the system.
CEO Deborah Addo signed the beam at Inova Ashburn HealthPlex, honoring the work of the Inova system staff. Photo courtesy of Inova Staff Member

The capstone event was the steel topping out, where the final beam was hoisted into place following remarks from Addo, Frank and Scott Hamberger, ILH Board Chair. “Today we’re building a legacy—a legacy of the future,” Frank told those who gathered in what will be the hospital’s lobby. “We’re building something we can all be proud of.”

Creating a patient-focused experience for the community that elevates the human spirit is the goal of the new patient tower, only accomplished by working together. In Addo’s words, “I succeed when we succeed.”

Design and construction team poses with signed beam alongside hospital CEO Deborah Addo.
Aligned around Inova Loudoun Hospital’s motto of “Stronger Together,” the design and construction team celebrated the milestone alongside hospital CEO Deborah Addo. Photo courtesy of Sean Kelley