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The University of Virginia (U.Va.) Health System has talked about it for the past 30 years, and now it’s finally happening. U.Va. is bringing a children’s hospital to its community with the help of architect Odell Associates and construction manager Kjellstrom & Lee.

Named the Battle Building after husband and wife Bill and Barry Battle who have supported the hospital for many years, the 200,000-square-foot outpatient pediatric facility will contain 28,000 square feet of ambulatory surgical space with the balance dedicated to clinical and administrative support. The facility’s 75 examination rooms will be divided into "clinical neighborhoods" that will group together related services and specialists. It will host 36 specialty clinics, 12 state-of-the art operating rooms, 36 pre- and post-operating rooms, a stand-alone pediatric pre-and post-recovery area and a stand-alone central sterile facility.

The seven-story facility is connected to U.Va.’s main hospital through a series of elevated walkways and enclosed pedestrian connectors. The ground level features food and retail options open to the public. University President Teresa A. Sullivan calls the project that broke ground in May 2011 a “great victory.”

"People have been working a long time on this, and it will benefit children that have not even been born yet,” she says. “This will be a great facility and a beacon of hope for parents with children who are ill."

Full victory will come when the building is completed next spring. Kjellstrom & Lee completed major structural work in September 2012 and it has reached substantial completion of mechanical rough-in. The contractor now is working on the exterior skin, which is a combination of curtain wall and masonry. Project Manager David Turner says exterior skin should be completed in July, and it happens to be one of the project’s most interesting features.

“The curtainwall system incorporates a design that does not utilize horizontal mullions,” Turner says. “The vision glass stands full height of the building, spanning floor to floor, and it’s supported by a cantilevered steel frame at the building’s prominent northwest corner

Once the exterior is completed, Kjellstrom and Lee will begin working on interior finishes, including commemorative pieces featured in the building. As construction progresses, Turner says an onsite quality control team is overseeing the work.

“One of the larger efforts during this project is management of quality control,” he says. “We have a full-time, onsite quality control officer who corresponds daily with personnel assigned to each component of the building.”

Technology also plays a key role in quality management for the project. The construction team is using 3-D modeling to conduct full-scale detailing. It also used these tools to coordinate the MEP systems to detect conflicts and clashes prior to fabrication and installation. Kjellstrom & Lee is also using an online document management system called  Bluebeam where it can store all project documentation and make it available to all members of the construction team.

Despite the project’s challenges, Turner says it has moved along smoothly. This is perhaps due to the contractor’s experience in the region. Kjellstrom & Lee has worked on construction projects in Virginia since 1961. It has built projects for a number of sectors, including corporate office, education, sports and fitness and science and technology.

When the U.Va. Battle Building is completed, Kjellstrom & Lee will add it to an already extensive portfolio of healthcare projects. "Every year we have more than 100,000 outpatient visits from children across Virginia, with every conceivable difficulty," Sullivan says.

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