Turner Construction Company – Virtua Hospital

After more than 100 years, Turner Construction Company has built up the experience and expertise necessary to excel at healthcare construction, Project Manager Bill Swanson says. “We understand our clients’ needs [when constructing] healthcare facilities,” he says.

The company is now bringing that expertise to the Virtua West Jersey Hospital project in Voorhees, N.J. where Turner is serving as construction manager for the delivery of a 674,000-square-foot replacement hospital that will house approximately 370 beds.

The hospital will replace an older Voorhees location for the Virtua hospital system. According to Virtua, the older location has reached its capacity and is unable to accommodate the growing community. “Additionally, the current hospital is designed for 1973 technology, and is not able to accommodate future technology, or the implementation of a new and improved workflow plan,” Virtua says.

The new location, Virtua notes, is designed to incorporate new technologies to ensure clinical services, patient safety and privacy. “Virtua’s plan is to create a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment that promotes positive human interaction, provides personalized service and enhances healing through the use of light, space and the application of advanced technology,” Virtua says. “It’s the marriage of sophisticated, advanced medicine and a healing environment.”

Additionally, the $340 million hospital will feature pediatric and imaging departments; labor delivery rooms; detection and basic operating rooms; and an emergency room. “You name it, it has it,” Swanson says. 

A Good Experience

Swanson notes that Virtua is one of Turner’s repeat clients. “By far, [this is] the largest [project] we’ve done with Virtua,” he says. Currently, the project team is in the last year of its schedule and is aiming for completion in March 2011. 

Swanson says the hospital’s exterior wall and roof are complete, and his team is concentrating on finishes, site work and landscaping.

One of the largest challenges of the project so far, Swanson says, was the exterior wall, which is comprised of various “open joint” craft panels, curtain walls and windows. However, the wall has passed several curtain wall tests and has held strong against the rigors of Mother Nature.

The hospital is aiming for LEED certification. Virtua established that it wanted a green facility at the beginning. However, for a number of reasons, the firm decided to apply for certification after construction started. Turner and the designer, HGA Architects and Engineers, were eager to find a way to make it happen.

“We think we’re going to be able to give them a LEED-certified building,” Swanson reports. “It’s always easier when you establish it up front. 

“There [are] a lot of forms and requirements that need to be completed that can be included when making awards to subs,” he explains, adding that the project’s features include three green roofs, redundancy in its HVAC system, and such site features as bike racks and bike and walking paths.

The project also has been blessed with subcontractors who are continuously productive, Swanson says. “We’ve gotten extra quality out of them,” he says. “It’s been a real good experience for everyone.”

Turner has maintained a cooperative and happy relationship with its subcontractors by sticking to its plan, he says. “They don’t expend any more man hours than they planned, they’re able to schedule other projects around our project, [and] they know how many men they need to have,” he explains.

He adds that he feels Turner and Virtua will work together again in the future. “[We] hope to be working with them again for the next 10 years,” he says.

Staying Ahead

Founded in 1902, Turner has a nationwide network of offices and locations in 12 countries. With its network, Turner Construction Compa­ny says it has been able to treat its clients as friends and build relationships with developers, institutions, companies, individuals and organizations in the communities it serves.

“We are the only builder to combine broad geographic reach with local delivery, providing our clients with both the extensive resources they demand and the close-to-home focus they desire,” Turner says. “We are deeply knowledgeable about local market needs, regulations and special requirements.”

Swanson, who joined Turner in 1985, says the firm treats its employees well. In addition, the firm operates with a high level of integrity. 

“I’ve never felt that I was not being used to my full potential,” he says, noting that the company has given him a new challenge with each project. “I’ve been able to sleep comfortably [knowing] that we gave the client the very best,” he adds.

Swanson predicts future prosperity for Turner as it implements new and more efficient methods to build. “Turner always figures out a way to perform the work faster or economically better, always just ahead of its competitors,” he says. 

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