July 14, 2020
Inova Loudoun Hospital’s (ILH) Patient Tower in Loudoun County, Virginia, DPR Construction's largest healthcare project of its kind in the region, reached completion, wrapping up the final phase of ILH's $300 million master plan to expand the hospital’s facilities and services. Along the way, close collaboration among partners, leveraging data and careful planning were key components driving quality outcomes.
The Tower takes center stage as the new front-entrance of the hospital and spans a total of 382,000-sq-ft. DPR’s team constructed the seven-story Patient Tower in two years, with features including a dramatic main lobby, public circulation and waiting space, a new gift shop, provisions for a future rooftop helipad, a new pedestrian bridge linking the parking garage to the new tower, and state-of-the-art patient care capabilities to support expecting mothers, babies and in-patient needs.
“ILH put careful planning and consideration into the needs of the community in order to provide families with access to high quality medical care without having to leave Loudoun County,” said DPR Senior Project Manager Kimberly Shumaker.
The Patient Tower was ILH’s response to provide the Loudoun County community, one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, with private rooms and high-tech amenities. Because of this project, the hospital now has an expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with enhanced capabilities. The ILH Patient Tower is built to accommodate a total of 228 beds, including 24 NICU beds; 12 labor and delivery rooms; 5 C-section ORs; 10 prep and recovery rooms; 96 acuity adaptable beds allowing for care of postpartum, surgical and progressive care patients.
To better understand Inova’s project needs, DPR referred to its experience working together on a past project, the Inova Ashburn HealthPlex. “The HealthPlex served as a stepping stone for our team and allowed us to get closer and understand Inova’s key priorities,” Shumaker said.
With their robust planning, DPR committed to respecting the hospital’s operations while it remained open through construction. This approach was made possible due to using data management systems and other tracking tools. Data visualization tools, such as Power BI, allowed their project team to forecast trends and transform data into actionable items on the jobsite.
DPR’s initial challenge was finding a solution for foundation installation after discovering during precon the jobsite was predominantly covered in diabase rock. ”This extremely dense diabase rock was just two feet under the topsoil, creating a large undertaking for the team. Blasting was required and we knew it had to be done with no disruption to the existing facility whatsoever,” said Shumaker.
Although blasting with dynamite occurred for almost 90% of the foundational work over the course of 12 weeks, normal campus operations were never interrupted.
Shumaker noted: “Each blast took one minute after a full day of preparation and conducting safety protocols. They even became an attraction that many spectators looked forward to, enticing visitors, patients and staff alike to safely observe.”
Shumaker cites the partnership forged between DPR and Inova Loudoun early in the project as a key to success. The President of Inova Loudoun Hospital, Deborah Addo, and Shumaker worked together frequently, driven by their passion for the community they reside in, both having personal ties to the hospital and Loudoun.
“The success of the project is a testament to Deborah’s engagement, which continuously motivated our team to meet every challenge head on,” Shumaker said.
In mid-April, the ILH team began the multi-phase move into their new home two weeks early in light of COVID-19. The DPR team maintained a presence onsite for 36-hours straight during the move-in with key subcontractors to mitigate any arising issues as patients were being transferred. The hospital’s decision to move its labor and delivery unit early to the DPR-built new patient tower was done so to increase the number of beds available in the existing hospital for COVID-19 treatment and recovery.