Turner Construction

One of the nation’s top-ranked hospitals in terms of quality care will soon have an all-new facility courtesy of one of the largest hospital builders in the United States. Turner Construction recently topped off a nine-story bed tower, the highest point of the $276 million, 780,000-square-foot replacement of the Owensboro Medical Health Center in Owensboro, Ky.

Crews started construction in April 2010; completion is on schedule for February 2013. Compared to the existing hospital, some of which dates back to the 1930s, the replacement will give owner Owensboro Medical Health System (OMHS) the ability to provide improved care by providing better staff and patient work flows, more efficient program adjacencies, operational and technological improvements, greatly improved patient experience, and a broader service offering.

“Our mission is to build an affordable regional hospital that provides safe, high-quality care that will meet the healthcare needs of the region and have the ability to compete with any facility in the nation in terms of quality,” the owners said.

Building Features

The hospital, located on a 145-acre campus, will consist of three linked buildings: the 400-plus-bed, nine-story bed tower, a three-story diagnostic and testing building, and a nine-story “spine” housing inpatient support and administrative spaces that links the two, Project Manager Merrill Bowers says.

Crews have so far used more than 7,000 tons of structural steel on the entire hospital, with that phase of the work set to conclude this spring. The foundation is a concrete spread footings.  Rainscreen stone cladding and glazed curtain wall used on the exterior skin. Wet-set masonry and resin wood panels will also be used on the hospital’s bottom floor.

The bed tower is designed so each floor is composed of two, parallel continuous corridors on either side of a narrow service “core”, Bowers says. “One of the drivers for the campus as a whole is intuitive way-finding and orienting the elements in a way that’s easy for patients and visitors to get navigate – the bed tower design greatly minimizes the potential for wrong turns or disorientation,” he adds.

Each floor of the bed tower will feature twin 24-bed units designed with efficiency and safety in mind. Design features include same-handed rooms, dedicated family spaces in each patient room, and two-leaf room entry and patient toilet doors.

The diagnostic and treatment building will include a womens center on the third floor, the emergency department, radiology and imaging as well as the surgery suites and lab.

 The complex is oriented to maximize views to nature and the more “interior” patient spaces are provided with courtyards which utilize landscaping and large windows to capture natural lighting.  Positive exterior views and natural lighting are two elements lacking in the existing hospital building, Bowers says. 

Although not pursuing LEED certification, LEED guidelines were considered throughout the design. Natural lighting and views was an area of focus, not only for LEED, but for positive impact on patient outcomes.  Other green building elements include the use of local materials to the greatest extent possible, green roofs, efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and a thermally efficient exterior wall design. Outside of the building, bioswales and native grasses and plants are being installed and an adjacent flood plain will be restored.

Full Collaboration

Through an integrated project delivery approach, Turner is teaming with HGA Architects and Engineers of Milwaukee and engineering design firm Smith, Seckman and Reed (SSR) of Nashville. “All of us were involved from the very beginning,” Bowers says. “With this project, the team has worked together in a much more committed and collaborative manner than experienced through traditional project delivery.”

Turner, HGA and SSR had their teams closely examine each portion of the overall budget such as interiors, the building envelope and mechanical systems and created sub/component teams for each of these areas. Each team consisted of a representative from Turner, HGA, SSR and other major trade partners who had design-assist and budget responsibilities, Bowers says. 

Each element of the building, from the structure to the exterior skin, was fully modeled using BIM software. Turner and its project partners also used SharePoint sites to collaborate throughout the design process, he adds.

Bowers calls the relationship between Turner and its project partners and subcontractors “very positive.” “We have a lot of Kentucky-based firms we haven’t had extensive past experience with before on this project,” he says. “There are a lot of great subcontractors doing good things on this project.”

The project’s total economic impact on the region is estimated at $139 million. The construction phase alone is projected to create more than 4,000 jobs.  These numbers do not include the jobs that come along with new physicians recruited to the region for the new hospital.

Maximizing Efficiency

The integrated project delivery approach helped Turner and its partners overcome what Bowers calls the project’s single-biggest challenge.

“The project has gone really well, and I guess a unique challenge for this particular project is that OMHS is a large provider and this new hospital will not contain all programs that currently operate at the existing campus,” Bowers explains. “One of the huge advantages we’ve realized with the integrated team is we’ve continuously worked to maximize the ability of the owner adjust the program and move as many things as they can to the new campus to be as efficient as possible.”

The new facility is approximately 2.5 miles from the existing campus.

Safety Measures

Safety is a key organizational value for Turner on all of its projects. “At Turner, we have developed a culture that promotes an injury-free environment and provides the safest workplace possible for our employees, subcontractors, clients and others who enter or who are near our construction sites,” the company says. “Our mantra is: `Every worker goes home from each of our jobs every day.’”

Corporate safety measures include a zero-tolerance drug policy and a fall-protection program that includes partnering with insurance industry leaders to develop new safety procedures, the company adds.

On the Owensboro project, Turner and each of its subcontractors has carried out the company’s safety-first credo through the presence of full-time safety managers and dedicated safety personnel on site, formation of a “safety committee,” and focused idea sharing at regular meetings. Consolidated Risk Solutions administrated the owner’s wrap-up insurance program, which covers workman’s compensation and general liability coverage.

An Honored Pair

This is the first time Turner – one of the nation’s leading healthcare builders for more than 20 years as named by Modern Healthcare magazine – has worked with Owensboro Medical Health System, Bowers says.

Owensboro Medical Health System was recently named a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence for the third consecutive year by HealthGrades, a leading independent healthcare rating company. The survey places the hospital among the top five percent in the United States for clinical performance.

“At Owensboro Medical Health System we are working every day to heal the sick and to improve the health of our community; it’s not just our mission, it’s why we exist,” the healthcare provider says. “Our vision is to become a regional center of excellence by actively listening to and partnering to meet the individual healthcare needs of those we serve.”

Owensboro carefully considered community input during the design phase of the new hospital project, and continues to seek user feedback. “We always count on the input of our community to help us make decisions that impact the region in a positive way,” it adds.

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