Mercy Hospital Joplin Tops Out

Mercy Joplin Replacement Hospital Rendering RMcCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has topped out the new 875,000-square-foot Mercy Hospital Joplin for Chesterfield, Mo.-based Mercy.  McCarthy hoisted the final steel beam, signed by members of the Mercy and Joplin community, to the top of the seven-story structure. 

The 260-plus private room hospital will replace the former St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center demolished in the May 22, 2011, EF-5 tornado. 

McCarthy broke ground in January 2012 on the new, $335-million (construction budget) larger hospital, which will include medical surgical, critical care, women’s/children’s (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms), behavioral health and rehab.  The bottom three floors of the structure include hospital space, with a seven-story patient tower and a four-story clinic tower rising above the hospital space. There is a separate 30,000-square-foot central utility plant connected to the main structure by a 450-foot underground tunnel.  The building exterior will be complete in November 2013.  The central utility plant will be operational by January of 2014 and the main structure is expected to open in March of 2015.

McCarthy has worked closely with Mercy since the disaster, arriving in Joplin just days after the massive tornado struck. The company worked alongside the National Guard and volunteers around the clock to help set up a temporary 60-bed field hospital so that Mercy could re-establish medical services to the Joplin community as soon as possible. The tent-like structure, known as a Mobile Medical Unit, on loan from Missouri’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team, was replaced with a more secure temporary solution. In spring of 2012, a modular “component” hospital, with a structure 30 percent stronger than the original hospital03 Field Tent Hospital Mobile Medical Unit R and window glass rated for 200-mile-per-hour winds, was completed. 

“McCarthy has given us what we’ve really needed most. They know how to make things happen,” said John Farnen, executive director of planning, design and construction for Mercy, which includes 31 hospitals and more than 200 outpatient facilities in four states. “They don’t need a set of drawings to get things done. They’re able to figure it out and think on their feet. They just know how to build stuff.” And that began the very next day after the tornado struck. “We went from initial design to breaking ground in just five months,” Farnen said.

McCarthy Project Manager Stephen Meuschke added, “We will have the new replacement hospital open three and a half years after the tornado hit Joplin, which is approximately half the time you would normally anticipate to plan, design and construct a similar-sized hospital.” 

McCarthy began working with Mercy planners to develop the functional program for the replacement hospital in July 2011 and completed the program three months later.  The functional team included the architectural firms of Archimages and HKS and Heideman & Associates as the MEP Engineer.  Interior work began last December on the lower floors of the hospital and will begin in the two towers this spring.

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Posted March 4, 2013

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