From the start, the leaders of the 745,000-square-foot Martin Army Community Hospital construction project knew what they were looking for. It was all detailed in a 4,800-page request for proposal developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the construction managers for the project. They wanted the Fort Benning, Ga., replacement hospital to be a sustainable building that follows the U.S. Army’s 2006 mandate that all new structures are built to earn at least LEED Silver certification. They wanted it to be a “medical home” – a nationwide trend embraced by the Army as it continuously improves its healthcare to service members and their families.
They also wanted it completed in 1,200 calendar days or about three years and three months. Turner Construction Project Manager Marty Miller says the average time for a project of this size is four to five years in a traditional design/bid/build contract. For that reason, the USACE chose the design/build method, making this project the first Army hospital constructed this way. Through the competitive bidding process, the Corps selected Turner as the prime contractor, and Turner chose to utilize BIM to make sure the project met its spring 2014 deadline.
“All of the design is being done by three-dimensional modeling,” Miller says. “It’s not something that we are doing after the fact for limited coordination. The decision to use 3-D modeling from the beginning allows us to clash detect any conflicts between building elements, so we’re not trying to run pipe through a piece of duct work or duct work through a beam.”
By designing its construction digitally, it allows Turner to prefabricate much of the work onsite and offsite, which Miller says allows for a better outcome for the contractors as well as the customer.
“It improves the quality of the hospital systems because the assemblies are being built in a factory like environment,” he says. “There’s a roof overhead, heat in the winter and ventilation in the summer and bench-top working surfaces as opposed to traditional methods used in the field.
“It’s safer because the constructors are working on a countertop instead of on the floor or from 14-foot-tall stepladder,” Miller continues. “It’s also more productive, and we get a better product at a reduced cost. It improves scheduling in the field and reduces the manpower required on site. All those folks you’ve taken out of the field and put in the prefabrication shops mean higher quality, more efficiency and lower costs.”
The new Martin Army Hospital will nearly double in size compared to the original 1958-built hospital, the Army’s second oldest hospital. No plans have been made yet for what will happen with the old building that USACE Project Manager Tim Morris describes as an “old, 1950s-era concrete box hospital with windows punched in it.”
The Early Stages
Construction for the hospital began in May 2011, and the finished structure will house 70 inpatient beds, four acuity adaptable intensive care units (ICU), four step-down ICUs, 24 medical surgical beds, 14 mother-baby beds and 24 psychiatric beds. The ICU is being built with eight beds with the capability to expand to 24 acuity adjustable beds. There are also two 1,000-car parking garages – one for patients and visitors and another for hospital staff. Those are the general guidelines for what the building will be, but the verdict is still out on finalizing many details, which Morris says gives the USACE an opportunity to involve many different voices.
“We’ve started construction on a number of areas and we’re in a major design stage,” he says. “We’ve just completed a review of the 35 percent stage. As we move through design, we have user involvement and make necessary adjustments.”
The new hospital will be an eight-story structure with six floors above grade and two floors that are below grade in the back of the building because of its heavily sloped site. The façade is made of precast exposed aggregate finished concrete and glass and metal curtain walls to let in the light.
The building complex will be divided into three sections – a hospital tower and two clinic wings with a central grand concourse that creates a natural separation and serves as a gathering place with seating areas and views to the natural woods and Upatoi Creek. It also has a more centralized design, which Morris says will ultimately lead to better care. “One of the things that is really current in Army healthcare and particularly in hospitals is how to make health care less stressful for the patient and staff,” he says. “So you have central care; instead of having patients run around all over the hospital to visit doctors, you tend to bring the doctor to the patients,” he says. “It helps in the healing environment and trying to make the patient feel they’re in an environment that’s more calming and less stressful. It’s a core focus of the Army.”
Strong Team Progress
Turner’s team is about halfway through its design process. The client will have two more opportunities to review the design at the 65 percent and 100 percent completion stages. Turner has completed or is nearing completion on infrastructure work such as a half-million-gallon stormwater holding tank, a backup sanitary sewer tank, a replacement phone switching station and a new exit ramp dedicated to the hospital from the Interstate 185 extension on Fort Benning.
As it performs grading work for the actual hospital, Miller estimates they will start foundation and structural work this year, ahead of the design’s final completion. But that doesn’t mean the construction team is going in blind.
To prepare the proposal, Turner teamed up with other firms to meet the challenge. They selected a joint venture between Ellerbe-Becket and RLF Architects as the prime designers, and established a full complement of consultants, design/build and design/assist subcontractors for the major elements of work. “We only had 90 days as a team to read and get through a 4,800-page request for proposal and turn it into a design/build proposal. Then we had 30 additional days to quote the firm-fixed price,” Miller explains. “It worked very well. There was a tremendous amount of collaboration in preparing the proposal.”
Morris affirms that team collaboration. “There have been a lot of different people involved from different agencies and building users,” he says. “We have a good team. Everyone is professional and gets along well. Any challenges that come up, we address them and move forward.” Turner’s key partners include Alexander Contracting Co. Inc., MMC Contractors National Inc., Capital Construction Consultants Inc., TRC Construction Services and Schuff Steel Company.
Serving the Southeast
The nearly 112-year-old Turner Construction Co. boasts a team of nationwide offices and a work history that includes a dozen countries. Each office, from its seven locations in California to its three offices in Florida is deeply engrained in the local laws and niche needs of its respective market.
Turner Universal has served the Southeast for 50 years and it built a formidable design/build team for the under-construction Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning. The office is also responsible for Fort Benning’s new physical fitness center.
Alongside its government work, Turner Universal’s unmistakable signature can be found in the commercial realm on projects such as the Nashville Super Speedway; and the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tenn.
As a leading name in healthcare, Turner Universal has worked on projects such as the 100,000-square-foot Memphis Mental Health Institute – a replacement facility that includes three patient units with 25 beds each.
Recently, Turner Universal won an award for another healthcare project – the 555,000-square-foot Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. It received the 2011 Pyramid Award in the Mega-Project category from the Associated Builders and Contractors.
Similar to the Martin Army Community Hospital, the team for the Middle Tennessee Medical Center utilized building information modeling, which resulted in significant cost and time savings to the tune of $4 million less than the guaranteed maximum price and two months ahead of schedule. The result was a 286-bed facility with 12 operating rooms, 40 emergency department exam rooms, 32 intensive care units, 11 labor and delivery rooms and 16 neonatal care units.
“This project is an outstanding example of the innovation and commitment to superior craftsmanship that embody merit shop construction,” ABC President and CEO Michael D. Bellamen said in a statement.