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McCarthy Building Companies to Begin Major Structural Work on Torrance Memorial Medical Center Replacement Tower

Torrance_Memorial_LRTORRANCE, Calif. — McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is constructing the $300-million Torrance Memorial Medical Center Replacement Tower on the existing medical center site in California. Excavation and shoring for the new construction is nearly complete as the tower’s structural steel is scheduled to begin in October 2011.

McCarthy is the general contractor for the 256-bed replacement project which began construction in February 2010. The project entails construction of a seven level, 398,350-square-foot patient tower as well as a basement that will house a central utility plant and a tunnel connecting the existing hospital to the new facility. Twelve new elevator systems and two exit stairs will be installed, and a 2,770-square-foot emergency generator building along with underground fuel oil storage tanks will be constructed on site. Before construction could begin, McCarthy re-routed existing underground utilities servicing the tower around the new tower’s footprint. A new entrance to the existing facility was also built to allow for patient access from a new direction while the tower is under construction.
Torrance_Memorial_Lobby_LRDesigned by HMC Architects, the state-of-the-art tower will be the new front door of the medical center, and the centerpiece of the campus. Being built with a steel frame atop a mat foundation, the tower’s exterior skin will be a combination of metal panel, precast concrete, plaster and curtainwall. The combination of skin materials for the tower’s façade not only responds to the correct solar orientation to reduce energy consumption, but it also gives the tower a contemporary and elegant aesthetic.

According to HMC Architects, the new tower represents the future of patient care by increasing, consolidating, and reconfiguring the inpatient, outpatient and acute-care functions of the medical center campus to better serve patients and staff. The hospital’s design is focused on patient care as well as the comfort of visiting family members. Family friendly lounges and overnight spaces will be included, and gently curved nurses’ stations will allow for better care and visibility of patient rooms. The entrance of the new tower, which is positioned at the end of a bustling outdoor plaza, will lead to a bright and open lobby. An indoor-outdoor cafeteria, gift shop, admittance services, and a chapel are all easily accessible on the first floor. Serene gardens between the new and existing facility will help relieve stress, and aid in the patient healing process by connecting patients, visitors and staff to nature and daylight.

Torrance_Memorial_Healing_garden_LRThe new tower will incorporate significant sustainable features equivalent to the same standards required of a LEED-silver certified structure. Some of the eco-sensitive design features include minimizing environmental impacts by incorporating optimal building orientation to reduce solar heat gain; individual temperature controls to reduce energy, a white roof to minimize heat gain, low-level perimeter building lighting to reduce light pollution, recycled content and environmentally friendly finishes; as well as the use of water efficient landscaping and a healing garden to reduce the “heat island effect” from excessive use of hardscape. McCarthy will also use sustainable construction methods throughout the project including recycling approximately 80 percent of construction waste; maintaining proper indoor air quality; and utilizing local labor.

“In order to provide the design team with constructability input efficiencies along with a progressive schedule and budgeting information, McCarthy is using a combination of delivery systems. Design-assist will be incorporated to deliver the MEP systems, structural steel, and framing, while design-build will be used for the exterior skin, elevators and fire protection system,” said Patrick Peterson, project director for McCarthy.

The construction team is using Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology including NavisWorks 3-D project modeling for clash detection and coordination to assist with extensive MEP overhead and in-wall coordination, as well as seismic bracing, and exterior skin systems.

“Because of the project’s unique challenges, construction will be multi-phased to alleviate disruption to the existing facility,” said Erik Chessmore, McCarthy project manager. We will be setting the new tower’s central plant equipment in the basement prior to steel and concrete topping out. Furthermore, due to the hospital’s proximity in an operational urban site with limited access, a detailed logistics plan will be utilized and close coordination with the hospital and subcontractors will be required during erection and build-out of the tower.”

Topping out of the structural steel is slated for February 2012, with project completion by November 2014.

Images courtesy of HMC Architects

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Posted September 14, 2011

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