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Operating room table and equipment

VCU Health PSR Operating Room Renovation and Expansion

VCU Health PSR Operating Room Renovation and Expansion Project | Richmond, Virginia

Outcome on VCU Health Renovation & Expansion Project

Working inside a fully operational hospital in the heart of busy downtown Richmond, VA, DPR delivered a multi-phased, 85,000-sq.-ft. renovation and expansion project that provided cutting-edge perioperative services to the existing hospital at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).


Detailed planning and streamlined communication by a cohesive design and construction team, all co-located in an off-site, big-room environment, helped drive the success of the VCU Health PSR Operating Room Renovation and Expansion. DPR was required to keep fourteen operating rooms (ORs) fully functional throughout the entire construction process. Crews worked around the clock, including nights and weekends, to complete the work safely, effectively and with zero impact to ongoing hospital operations.

The Challenge

Surrounded on all sides by active medical facilities on the VCU Health System campus as well as busy, populated city streets and sidewalks, the project faced an array of challenging site logistics throughout its entire 50-month, multi-phased construction duration. Working inside a fully operational teaching hospital around patients and visitors additionally challenged the entire team to avoid any disruptions to ongoing operations.

Intricate planning was required to maintain 14 functional ORs; DPR portioned the work into two phased sequences that took place simultaneously, comprising the Gateway building 5th floor split into six phases and the Main Hospital 5th floor work that was split into 16 phases.

Some phases of work were especially delicate. Construction of the hybrid OR took place behind the hospital “red line” in a highly sensitive area of the facility; crews had to work directly adjacent to an existing neuro-OR, above respiratory intensive care unit and directly below the neo-natal intensive care unit, all of which required extensive ICRA and infection control requirements.

Traffic drives by the VCU hospital covered in scaffolding
Construction crews work on an existing hallways inside a hospital.
Workers and staff wear protective gear and safety suits on site.
The Solutions

The design and construction team’s holistic approach focused on minimizing disruptions and achieving the owner’s key goals. Effective, detailed planning and streamlined communications were facilitated by the team’s co-location in a “Big Room” offsite. This integrated team tapped their extensive experience working in logistically challenging environments by utilizing lean principals like just-in-time deliveries, pull planning sessions and the last planner method to phase and sequence work.

In one example of its efforts to minimize disruption, DPR erected scaffolding and netting to cover work on the expanded waiting room area. Patient awareness of the work taking place was limited until the netting was removed to reveal the completed waiting room addition, opening up above the hospital’s main entrance.

Technology and innovation were also leveraged to improve project outcomes. DPR, HKS and key trade partners coordinated their work in a single BIM model, streamlining the process for prefabrication, construction and owner turnover. The project liberally used VR for owner communication. DPR built a virtual mock-up that allowed users to virtually tour an OR and PACU bay and provide feedback – reportedly the first use of portable Oculus Rift headsets in a hospital construction environment.

Team members review project plans.
Scaffold covers the front entrance of the VCU hospital.
A team member reviewing virtual plans
The Result

The VCU Health PSR Operating Room Renovation and Expansion project achieved its objective to exceed owner expectations, finishing on schedule, $4.8 million under budget safely, and with zero impact to OR operations.

5 W8 A0013

“Thank you for your efforts. You continue to exceed expectations, and I never hear a bad thing about your project or the team. Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Bob Reardon

Chief Facility Officer. VCU Health

Project Awards

Engineering News-Record

ENR MidAtlantic Best Projects 2019

The 2019 ENR MidAtlantic Best Projects winners include a diverse set of projects from across the region.

Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) hallway in VCU medical center
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