By Jeff Moore, President, Greenwood & Moore
Greenwood & Moore is currently completing the Phase 4 construction drawings for the hospital. Phase 4 encompasses the area directly around the new hospital. In total, there are seven individual construction phases associated with the site Civil Engineering services. Each phase of construction requires a complete set of construction documents that are coordinated with the work performed in the previous phases of construction. Had the new hospital been constructed on a “greenfield site” (raw land with no previous development) then only one set of drawings would be required. The need for seven sets of plans illustrates the challenges and complexity of constructing the new hospital adjacent to the existing hospital.
The seven phases of constructions are as follows:
Phase 1 – Demolition of the existing Pinecone Apartments and Medical Office Buildings
This work was completed in the summer of 2009. In general, this was a very straight forward scope of work. Interestingly enough, one the more challenging aspects of this phase of work were relocating the existing doctors who occupied the medical office spaces that were to be demolished. The amount of design and coordination needed to relocate the doctor’s was immense! Add to the mix, the individual personalities of the doctor’s, different lease terms, differing needs for new office space and a drop-dead demolition deadline, and you get more excitement that a civil engineer is typically used to!
Phase 2 – Construction of the new Helistop, Large Site Retaining Walls, Garage Vehicle Access Bridge and a Temporary pedestrian access bridge.
The work in Phase 2 is referred to as “Make Ready” work. That is, this work needs to be completed before significant work on the hospital can begin. The large site retaining walls, pedestrian bridge and helistop were completed in late 2009. Work on the garage vehicle access bridge continues and is expected to be completed in a few weeks. From a civil engineering standpoint, the design of the helistop was the most challenging aspect of this phase of construction. This was due to the extensive design regulations set forth by the FAA. Oddly enough, the design of the ramp leading to the helistop was particularly challenging. The height of the landing pad above the roadway, airspace clearance requirements and patient gurney maneuverability issues were all pieces of the ramp design puzzle. When all was said and done the final ramp configuration solved the hospital’s technical requirements.
Phase 3 – New Temporary Ambulance Parking
This work was simple but critical. In order to facilitate the construction of the new hospital, it is necessary to relocate the ambulance drop-off area for the existing hospital. This work was completed in late 2009.
Phase 4 – Site Improvements around the new Hospital.
This is a very complex phase of the civil engineering design services. This phase of work incorporates all of the detailed site construction around the new hospital. Some of the aspects of the phase of work are
- Soundwalls for adjacent residential areas
- New 18’ high, curved, retaining walls for the outdoor eating area
- Truck loading dock
- Site utilities
- Underground fuel storage tanks
- Underground fire sprinkler storage tank
- Mobile technology (i.e., MRI) trailer location
- Ambulance parking
Extensive coordination with the architect and other design team members is critical to make sure that all of the pieces fit together properly.
Phase 5 – Demolition of Laurel Grove Hospital and New Parking Lot
The demolition of the existing Laurel Grove Hospital and the construction of new parking on the site are the major components of Phase 5. Currently, Laurel Grove Hospital is physically connected to an existing medical office building to the north of the project. In order to remove the hospital, it will be necessary to provide minor reconstruction of the adjacent office building. The removal of Laurel Grove is expected to occur in early 2010. Its removal is critical to the construction schedule, as the site will be used for temporary construction staging and parking for the next two years.
Phase 6 – Demolition of the Existing Hospital
The removal of the existing hospital – after the new hospital is complete and everything is transferred over — will present some unique challenges. When the building is gone, there will be a very large hole in the ground that will need to be filled and a foundation that will likely remain intact. The civil engineering plans need make sure that these structures will not adversely impact the new parking lot that will be constructed on the site of the old hospital.
Phase 7 – Construction of the Main Parking Lot
Once the existing hospital has been removed, construction of the main parking lot can begin. Phase 7 and Phase 4 are the two most complex parts of the civil engineering package. The most notable aspect of the Phase 7 civil design is the stormwater control system. This system provides required treatment to rainwater run-off. From the public’s point of view, the stormwater control system looks like regular landscaping. In reality, it is a complex filtration system that helps to keep pollutants and debris out of the public creeks and storm drain system
So, there has been a lot going on in the civil engineering world. The design process will continue throughout the first half of 2010 until all aspects of the design are complete.
I welcome your comments and questions.
Many of you may be wondering why we chose the existing site of Eden Medical Center to build the replacement hospital. In Chapter V of the Environmental Impact Report, the project architect and environmental impact report consultant (ESA) prepared and analyzed alternative sites and concluded that 20103 Lake Chabot Road was still the best choice for building Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, an affiliate of Sutter Health.
However, building a new hospital next to an existing one presents some interesting challenges. The construction and design teams had to come up with a multi-phased approach to building the medical campus while keeping the existing Eden Medical Center in full operation. The construction of the hospital is to occur in seven main phases. So, it is necessary to provide seven sets of civil construction drawings where one set is normally provided!
For example, phase one begins with the demolition of the Pine Cone Apartments at 20004 Stanton Street, and four existing medical office buildings located next door to Eden. Right now, we have no access to portions of the site because certain structures are in the way. Demolition of existing buildings is a logical and intuitive start to the construction process.
Phase two consists of what is referred to as “make ready” work. This is work that must be completed before construction on the main hospital can even begin. A good example of “make ready” work is the relocation of the existing helistop (helicopter landing pad, used for the emergency transport of trauma patients). The existing helistop is located next to the new hospital. Helicopters cannot land safely at the existing helistop location during construction of the new hospital. Therefore, the helistop must be moved just 150 feet before work can start on the new hospital. In order to move the new helistop, we need to level a hill, provide drainage, provide flight path clearance, ensure adequate lighting, etc. And remember, full access to the new or existing helistop must be maintained at all times during the construction process!
Other types of “make ready” work include:
- Construction of a large retaining wall to surround a portion of the site. The wall supports a critical roadway around the new hospital site.
- Construction of a temporary path from the new helistop to the existing Eden Trauma Center so that patients can have access to the existing Trauma Center
- Build a new bridge from the new road to the existing parking garage (where handicap parking will be relocated during construction)
- Finally, demolition of the current helistop.
These are just a few examples of “make ready” work that will need to be performed. As you can see, it can get pretty complicated. The need for significant construction phasing is what creates a lot of the site design complexity.
We estimate that phases one and two will take six to eight months to complete! Hospital construction can begin in earnest upon completion of the “make ready” work.
Where are all the pipes & wires?!
Even more complex than all the preparation to erect the new hospital is figuring out where all the underground utilities are. We’re talking about 50-plus years of modifications of pipes, wires and sewers, some of which have been abandoned and no one knows exactly where they are. The contractor needs to know where all critical utilities are located so they can abandon or re-route them to fit the needs of the new construction. In order to locate them, the contractor needs to “pothole” (dig them up) to make sure that they are located where we think they are. This is an expensive and time-consuming process. We’ll also have to build a temporary storm drain system to capture rainwater during construction. The final storm drain system will not be completed until 2012, with the completion of the new hospital.
Taking Down Eden—It’s Not a Quick Good-Bye!
Demolishing the existing hospital—a process we call deconstruction because of the selective, targeted work involved and the recycling process—won’t take place until the new hospital is up and running and all patients have been safely transferred. Since the main entrance road to the new hospital is just ten feet away from the existing hospital building we can’t exactly get in there with a wrecking ball or explosives! So special safety precautions will be provided by the contractor to ensure that the hospital is removed safely and efficiently. We are all concerned about getting things done safely, so deconstruction will be slow and methodical over a six month period.
Being in compliance with environmental safety laws also presents challenges during deconstruction. Eden’s ripe old age means that there will be a certain amount of hazardous material that needs to be removed and properly disposed of before demolition and recycling of the old materials can begin.
When the deconstruction is finally completed, the bottom basement floor will most likely be left in place (to save money) and stay intact since it will be located underground. So you could say, a little bit of Eden will remain forever!
If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below this post. (Click on the title of the post, and the comment box will appear below it.) We will respond as quickly as possible. We want to hear from you.
By Jeff Moore, Co-Owner, Greenwood & Moore, Inc., Engineering Firm
My name is Jeff Moore. I’m the “Moore” of Greenwood & Moore, Inc. We’re a multi-disciplined engineering firm specializing in civil engineering, land surveying, architectural/structural design, and land use planning. We’ve been in business in Castro Valley for over 40 years.
As civil engineers, we are responsible for the entire site design of Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley. With an effective site design, pedestrians and vehicles can safely and efficiently access the hospital. As land surveyors, we’re the people you see in the streets with tripods and surveying equipment measuring the location and elevation of things like curbs, gutters, streets, trees, etc. We are also responsible for locating the property lines around the new hospital.
Greenwood & Moore is honored to have been selected as the prime Civil Engineering and Land Surveying firm for the new Sutter Medical Cente Castro Valley. We have been providing professional design and engineering services for the existing hospital for over 20 years. The previous work that Greenwood & Moore performed for Eden Hospital for so many years allows us to have an out-of-the-ordinary perspective on the new hospital’s requirements.
For the hospital’s new design our firm is responsible for civil engineering tasks that include the grading plan (pipes and storm drains), parking lots, site design and circulation, site utilities (sewer, water, electrical, etc), and coordination for the Environmental Impact Report.
It is very exciting to work on this project because of the complexity involved in constructing a new hospital while the existing hospital remains in place. And personally, I find it professionally stimulating to work with such an experienced, top-notch management team.
I am proud to have served as a Trustee for the Eden Medical Foundation for last 4+ years. My wife, Beth, and I co-chaired the Eden Medical Foundation’s Spring Gala 2006-2007.
We live in Castro Valley with our children, Ellie, who is five years old and Sean, who is three years old. Both kids were born at Eden Medical Center. Beth and I are active in the community through the Castro Valley Rotary Club and the Castro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Because we live and work in Castro Valley, our association with Sutter Health and the new hospital is more than “just a job;” it impacts our lives personally.
Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post or ask questions about the engineering aspects of the new medical center, and I’ll be glad to respond within a day or two.