Central DuPage Hospital

A nationally recognized hospital located just outside of Chicago is reaching the culmination of a more than six-year expansion and construction plan. Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) in Winfield, Ill., in August 2011 will open a new $235 million bed pavilion that will also serve as its new public entrance. Construction started on the tower in May 2009, and was substantially complete by May 2011. The architect is RTKL of Chicago and the general contractor is Pepper Construction Group LLC, also of Chicago. 

The five-story concrete and curtain wall pavilion will contain 202 private rooms, replacing general medical service beds in the hospital’s existing facility, built during the 1970s. 

“Private rooms are the way to go now,” says Larry Bell, CDH vice president of construction.

Patient confidentiality, infection prevention and privacy are the reasons for the shift from double- to single-occupancy rooms, he says. 

The private rooms will also provide more room and comfort for visitors. “With a private room with just one patient, their family will be able to gather together, and each room will have a sofa where family members can sleep overnight,” he adds. CDH houses a total of 313 beds including in intensive care, psychiatric, pediatric and maternity units. All other units were renovated within the past five years.

Building Features

The hospital is targeting LEED Silver certification for the new bed pavilion through the use of local suppliers and materials and energy-efficient building systems and methods. These include the use of high-efficiency HVAC systems, low-e rated glass and lighting controls, Project Manager Guido DiDomenico says.

In addition to the new patient rooms, the 280,000-square-foot tower will also house support space, administrative offices, an auditorium, a physician’s lounge, medical library and material storage.

Initial planning and design work on the new building started in March 2005. The pavilion is the third major construction project completed since the beginning of the design phase; previous projects were a new 360-space parking structure completed in 2008 and a helipad relocation finished in 2007.

The parking structure replaces parking spaces lost as a result of building the new pavilion, which sits on a former parking lot, Bell adds.

No Time Lost

Completing the project required much coordination between hospital staff and the construction crew, including finding places for both crewmembers and hospital staff to park. “Going into this project, parking was a huge discussion in terms of where we were going to put everyone,” Bell explains. 

“Having up to 315 [construction workers] here at one time made for an interesting situation, but we made it through.”

The hospital accommodated the additional parking demand by using a temporary lot across the street from the facility and setting up a shuttle bus service to take hospital employees to and from the hospital. 

Additional challenges on the site included soft soil beneath a part of the site where freight and passenger elevators are located. Foundation crews installed 19 pylons 94 feet beneath the surface to support the structure, DiDomenico says.

The project also encountered a three-week stoppage in summer 2010 as a result of a labor union strike. Fortunately for the hospital, the lost time did not affect the final schedule. 

“Pepper made up the time after the strike ended,” Bell says. “I think their crew was eager to get back to work to make up that time.” 

‘Cream of the Crop’

Bell and DiDomenico credit Pepper Construction and its subcontractors for the high quality of the finished building. “This is one of the best crews I’ve seen in a long time in construction,” DiDomenico says. 

Pepper’s staff and crew, as well as its use of experienced suppliers, made them a clear choice to helm the project, Bell says. Key partners include ETS Lindgren and Skyline Plastering. “We are very comfortable with the Pepper crew and the subcontractors they use,” Bell adds. “This is not the first hospital they’ve done … all the trades on the project have been involved in healthcare before, so they are all familiar with the differences involved in building a hospital vs. other projects.”

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