Brasfield & Gorrie Expands Lexington Medical Center
The population of Lexington County, South Carolina, has been increasingly rapidly. When growth comes to an area, an increase in services must follow, hence the expansion of the Lexington Medical Center.
Scope of the Expansion
Prior to the expansion, the Lexington Medical Center was already one of South Carolina's most active hospitals based on the number of babies delivered, surgeries performed, and emergency room visits. The facility currently has 438 beds and is consistently full. The expansion will allow the Lexington Medical Center to have the space to accommodate the expanding health care needs of the growing community.
The nearly $300 million expansion includes a 545,000-square-foot, 12-story tower and a 70,000 square foot, freestanding central utility building. It also includes a new parking deck with more than 900 spaces and 130,000 square feet of renovations to the interior of the existing hospital. Two new bridges were also installed to connect the tower to the existing facility. With the expansion, the hospital will open up approximately 70 new beds and have the ability to open more in the future, should the need arise. There will be additional operating rooms, a relocated labor and delivery department, postpartum beds, newborn nurseries, additional intensive care and medical/surgical beds, and space for expanding clinical departments
General contracting work on the Lexington Medical Center is being performed by Brasfield & Gorrie. With 12 offices and approximately 2,600 employees, Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation's largest privately held construction firms. They provide general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets including healthcare and are best known for preconstruction and self-perform expertise and exceptional client service. Michael Byrd, a Brasfield & Gorrie Vice President and Division Manager, is serving as the Project Executive for the Lexington Medical Center. He says, "The expansion will provide more space and updated facilities, enabling Lexington Medical Center to treat more patients and provide the best care possible. The parking facility will support the traffic and parking needs related to increased patient load."
Performing an expansion of this size and magnitude in the vicinity of an active hospital has its challenges. Byrd says, "Challenges of working on a site this large in the middle of an active hospital campus include having to work around patients, staff, and the public. In addition to the busy hospital, there are active medical office buildings surrounding the site, furthering the need to consider public safety."
Another challenge is the multiple existing utility services that have been relocated to make way for construction. Manipulating the equipment required for the project has been challenging as well. Two tower cranes were needed due to the height of the building and site constraints in order to erect the structure and constantly feed material to the building.
In addition to the two tower cranes, demolition equipment, excavators, bulldozers, compactors, and loaders have been used for demolition and earthmoving operations. Drilling rigs were used for installation of deep foundations. Additional mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment were used to erect the structure. Aerial lifts, mast climbers, and swing stage platforms are being used to install the exterior building envelope.
Preconstruction for the Lexington Medical Center began in December 2014. Ground was broken on May 2016, and a topping out celebration to mark the structural completion of the vertical tower structure was held in November 2017. The new tower is scheduled to be completed in February 2019, and the renovation project extends into April 2020. More than 700 workers on site have worked a total of 1 million man-hours on the project so far.
Despite the challenges noted above, Byrd proudly notes that the project is on schedule.
Byrd credits the Brasfield & Gorrie team for keeping the project on schedule. "Our team has performed at a high level for more than 18 months. Combined, the management and field staff comprise more than 30 people, and they have done a great job of blending their skills, their personalities, and their various construction backgrounds to operate as one cohesive team."
A Cohesive Plan
Behind the success of every team is a good plan. One part of the plan was the strategic decision to incorporate select prefabricated components, including patient room headwalls, select bathroom features, a tunnel that connects the central energy plant to the parking deck and patient tower, and various mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components.
"The use of prefabrication for these components has aided schedule, quality, and safety, allowing the team to maximize use of the skilled workforce on site," says Byrd. "Prefabricating select components off site has also helped minimize traffic congestion on the active hospital campus." The project is expected to come in under budget, which can largely be attributed to the year and a half preconstruction phase of the project.
The plan also focused on addressing patient safety, patient access, and allowing staff to continue to do their jobs effectively amid ongoing construction. In the preconstruction phase of the job, Brasfield & Gorrie studied how to manage the flow of traffic, the procurement of cranes, and the delivery and offloading of equipment. According to Byrd, the team set up a "delivery board." Byrd says, "Anyone who wanted or needed to make a delivery had to get their information on the board so that our team could review, approve and coordinate with the rest of the project schedule and deliveries."
When new employees join the project, they go through an extensive orientation process. They receive training, so they know exactly what they're doing, where they'll be doing it, and what will be around them to ensure they have the knowledge necessary to do their job in a safe manner.
Each of these aspects have also contributed to the safety record of the project. There have been no lost-time incidents to date. Byrd says, "On a job of this size and scope, the safety record we have achieved is quite a feat. Our progress and safety record reflect the hard work and dedication of our employees, subcontractors, and vendors."
Unique Construction Features
The expansion has included some unique construction features. Chas Fare, Senior Project Manager at Brasfield & Gorrie, is responsible for project oversight regarding safety, quality, budget and schedule control, notes some of those features. "Copper, which is a natural antimicrobial element, has been incorporated in materials throughout the facility. All patient rooms in the facility are private and acuity adaptable, and nurse charting is located in corridors in between patient rooms to keep nurses as close to patients as possible."
The facility will also include a Cleansuite Surgery Operation Room HVAC System, energy-efficient glass, and energy-efficient LED lighting. In addition, the Lexington Medical Center will also house the largest central hospital pharmacy in South Carolina.
As the Lexington area continues to grow, new residents and those who called the area home previously will need services. One service that residents can feel confident will be available to them is a world-class healthcare from the Lexington Medical Center.