Construction Complete On LEED-Designed Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health

South-Health-Center-low-resLOS ANGELES, Calif. — The design/build team of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., and TAYLOR recently completed construction of the $20-million Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health, located on the north end of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center Campus in Los Angeles. The new building replaces the existing South Health Center, which was originally constructed in the 1950s.

The first building to kick off the community redevelopment plan in the Willowbrook area, the new center provides an additional 12,000-square-feet of space for public health programs and services.

Designed to engage the local community, the form and materials of the MLK Public Health Center are welcoming. “Recognizing the important role that the clinic is destined to play in the revival of the entire district and in the health and wellbeing of the local residents, we conceived the building as a beacon — a source of guidance, help and inspiration,” said TAYLOR project designer and manager, Harbans Ghatoade.

The playful geometric forms, the dynamic facade and the extensive use of glass, including window walls on the plaza that open to turn interior conference rooms into an extension of the public plaza, all help to create an inviting, non-intimidating environment that reaches out to the community it serves, and reflects the open attitude of the clinic staff.

The health center project included construction of a two-level, 31,000-square-foot medical office building and an adjacent 76-car parking lot. A glass enclosed entry lobby, pharmacy, laboratory and clinical nursing station are located on the first floor. The second level includes space for public health nurses, public health investigators and administrative offices.

As a part of the community wellness and prevention goals for the new facility, the center features a large community room on the north side of the building, a fitness park, an edible garden and a community kitchen for educational and community activities. The new facility will complement the health services currently offered at the MLK Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center and the future MLK Hospital by providing wellness services including immunizations and treatment for tuberculosis and other communicable diseases.

The new facility was funded with U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants through their Economic Development Initiative (EDI) and Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.

“In order to meet the financing requirements, the construction had to be weather-tight by January 2011, be substantially complete by May 2011 and tenant move-in completed by August 2011,” said Andrew Moey, supervising project manager at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.  “The design-build delivery method created a greater level of coordination and collaboration between the design and construction phases enabling the project team to meet all of the EDI/Loan deadlines.”

“In addition to meeting these crucial funding requirements, there are numerous achievements to be proud about for this project,” said Moey.  We expect to receive LEED Gold certification for the building; the project will be completed below budget; the design/build process helped to provide solutions to design and construction challenges and, most of all, the new health center is attractive, sustainable and contains all of the functionality required to deliver quality health services to our community.”

“The design and construction team’s decision to use tilt-up construction for the building frame was key to meeting the aggressive construction schedule,” said McCarthy project director Michael Wiggins.  “We also utilized a fast-track incremental permit process to allow concurrent design and construction resulting in an 11-month overall project duration including design.”  As a result of this effort, the construction duration was reduced by 69 days and was delivered 20 days ahead of schedule.

On track to achieve its targeted LEED-Gold certification goals, the new community health center incorporates numerous sustainable features to provide for a healthier environment. The building includes products with renewable and recycled content, low-VOC materials for surfaces and finishes, highly efficient mechanical systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a white roof. Achieving 23% percent below Title 24 requirements for energy efficiency, thermally-efficient glazing contributes to energy savings while the large windows in the lobby atrium and conference area bring in natural light. The design also takes advantage of its site in a high density location that offers easy access to public transit.

To successfully meet the LEED aspects of the project, the design and construction team employed nine LEED accredited professionals, and McCarthy used sustainable construction methods. These included: recycling approximately 95 percent of construction waste; meeting energy efficiency goals while maintaining stringent indoor air quality requirements for healthcare projects; and utilizing local labor.

Project consultants involved in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health project included KPFF for structural and civil engineering, GLUMAC for mechanical and electrical engineering and American Landscape as the landscape architect.

About the Design/Build Team
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the nation’s 10th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2011) and has been ranked among the top five national healthcare builders by Modern Healthcare since the magazine began its annual ranking more than 30 years ago.  As the largest American-based healthcare builder in the country, the firm has completed over $2.4 billion in healthcare work in Southern California alone.  In addition to Newport Beach, McCarthy has offices in San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Dallas; Houston; St. Louis and Atlanta.  McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at

TAYLOR is a full–service architectural and interior design practice focused exclusively on healthcare. With offices in northern and southern California, the 60-person firm has built a strong regional practice and national reputation with a commitment to “Promoting Wellness through Architecture,” clients of the firm include: Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, Oakland CA, St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, CA, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco CA, Scripps Health in San Diego, CA and Kaiser Permanente. For more information on the firm, visit


Posted October 11, 2011

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