T.A. Loving – Vidant Center Center

TA LovingT.A Loving and Rodgers Builders come together on the Vidant Cancer Center in North Carolina.

By Chris Petersen

Healthcare is a collaborative effort, requiring the skill and support of numerous highly trained professionals. Building a healthcare facility can be viewed in the same way, especially for a project of the size and scope of the Vidant Cancer Center project on the campus of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C. Once completed, the facility will bring together some of the best and brightest minds in oncology to serve cancer patients throughout the eastern North Carolina region, but first it has brought together the skill and expertise of leading area contractors T.A. Loving Company and Rodgers Builders.

T.A. Loving Senior Project Manager John Berry says the $123 million project is ambitious, but the company has felt right at home during the construction process thanks to the strong ties T.A. Loving has with Vidant Medical Center. “We built the original hospital, and so we’ve been on site ever since,” he says, adding that the company has built the hospital’s heart institute building and children’s hospital, among other projects on the site. 

T.A. Loving has been a fixture in North Carolina’s construction market since 1925, when the company was founded by Taylor Abbitt Loving as a small bridge builder. Over time, the company expanded its capabilities, and was called into service in 1940 to help construct Fort Bragg Army Base in Fayettville NC. Today, T.A. Loving is one of North Carolina’s most respected contractors, with a broad portfolio of heavy civil and bridge, commercial, and industrial projects under its belt. Rodgers Builders has been serving the region since 1963, and today has been recognized numerous times as one of the Southeast’s leading contractors. TA Loving box

Thanks to the strong bonds between T.A. Loving and the Vidant Medical Center as well as Rodgers Builders’ extensive expertise in the healthcare sector, Berry says the project team has been able to keep the Vidant Cancer Center project on track. “Everybody’s meshing as a team,” he says.

Necessary Care

The six-story, 418,000-square-foot facility is expected to provide eastern North Carolina with world-class cancer care when it opens in 2018. According to Vidant Medical Center, the need in the region for the new facility is critical. “The mortality rates in eastern North Carolina are significantly higher than the national and state averages, largely because our population's age and lifestyle behaviors put people at greater risk and because many cases of cancer in our region are detected in later stages when treatment is more difficult,” the hospital says.

The new Vidant Cancer Center will be the focal point for Vidant Health’s regional cancer programs, providing inpatient and outpatient cancer services including testing and treatment. Among the features that will be included in the six-story tower will be 96 inpatient rooms featuring nurse, patient and family areas, an imaging center, infusion and radiation treatment clinics, pharmacy facilities and laboratory space. By consolidating services into one facility, the hospital says, patients will benefit from greater convenience and shorter wait times. “Allowing our patients to stay close to home for their treatment means greater peace of mind for them and their families during this stressful time,” the hospital says.

On Top of Things

According to Berry, the good working relationship that T.A. Loving and Rodgers Builders have been able to create on the job site has gone a long way toward helping the project team keep the work on schedule despite some obstacles. “One of the most challenging aspects right now is the market climate,” he says.

With construction activity on the rise throughout the region, Berry continues, finding skilled manpower for the project has been challenging. Nevertheless, the reputations both members of the joint venture have in the industry have been helpful in securing qualified people for the project.

Another significant challenge the joint venture encountered during construction was the presence of a tunnel connecting the hospital’s heart center to the on-site utility plant, which runs directly underneath the site of the Vidant Cancer Center. Berry says the project team had to exercise caution while building around the existing tunnel and tying into it while also allowing the tunnel to remain open for hospital staff.

As of June, the project was on track to reach substantial completion by December 2017, and Berry says the project team is preparing to focus on enclosing the tower. Once the project is completed, it should stand not only as an important addition to healthcare in North Carolina but also to T.A. Loving’s growing portfolio of major healthcare projects. “We’ve got several great healthcare projects that we’ve completed over the last five to six years,” he says.

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