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New Stanford Hospital Project Raises the Bar

Cutting-edge technology, a visually stunning design and a highly collaborative, solution- oriented project team are some of the key features that distinguish the $2 billion new Stanford Hospital project, currently underway in Palo Alto, CA

 Cutting-edge technology, a visually stunning design and a highly collaborative, solution-oriented project team are some of the key features that distinguish the $2 billion new Stanford Hospital project, currently underway in Palo Alto, CA.

The project, now about two-thirds complete by general contractor Clark/ McCarthy (a joint venture between Clark Construction Group and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.), represents the single largest capital program facility ever built on the Stanford campus. The rapidly unfolding construction progress is revealing a facility designed to raise the bar on what the future of healthcare delivery will look like.

“The new hospital design is focused on patient comfort and privacy in order to provide patients with the best experience possible,” said Stanford Health Care spokeswoman Courtney Lodato.

 

World Class Design

Comprising 824,000 square feet, the new hospital includes 368 single occupancy rooms; a new Level-1 Trauma Center and Emergency Department; state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment rooms including 20 operating rooms, the latest MRI and CT technologies; and a 900-space parking structure, among many other features. It will be connected to the current hospital by a bridge and tunnel.

Internationally renowned Rafael Viñoly Architects, in association with PerkinsEastman (formerly Lee, Burkhart, Liu, Inc.), designed the new Stanford Hospital with a focus on delivering transformative patient care and utilizing the latest advances in medical technologies. Each of the

368 single occupancy rooms are located within the facility’s four 29-foot cantilevered “floating glass cubes,” a signature design element comprising floors 4-7. These four “floating” pavilions help the building effortlessly blend into the surrounding area despite being three times as tall as some nearby structures. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow natural light to pervade patient spaces, while offering sweeping views of the local foothills and the Stanford campus.

Four acres of rooftop gardens and extensive art throughout contribute to hospital’s unique healing environment. A dramatic, 65-ft.-high glass enclosed entry dome, which provides views from the building’s atrium up to the top floor, is more reminiscent of a luxury hotel than an institutional setting.

 

Delivering Seismic Stability

Less visible but equally significant structural components also contribute to making this a world-class facility, according to Bert Hurlbut, vice president of construction for the new Stanford Hospital at Stanford Health Care. The new hospital will meet strict seismic standards originally mandated by Senate Bill 1953, the driver behind numerous hospital projects built in California in recent years. Over 200 base isolation pendulums located below the structure’s steel columns will enable the building to move back and forth, up to six lateral feet in an earth- quake, and remain functional after an 8.0 magnitude quake.

“Those isolators allowed us to design some of the more exotic structural maneuvers in the building, such as the large cantilevers on levels 4-7,” Hurlbut said. Similar base isolation systems have been used in other large scale public projects including both San Francisco and Oakland city halls.

 

Overcoming/Mitigating Challenges

Constructing the building’s seismic system brought a fair share of challenges, but nothing the team couldn’t work through, according to Greg Schoonover, vice president and project executive for Clark/McCarthy.

Additional key challenges he pointed to have included:

  • Managing the logistical issues of working in a very tight site location;
  • Minimizing impacts to patients while working directly next to an existing, fully operational hospital;
  • Coordinating the information flow on such a mammoth project, which currently has roughly 800 trades workers in the field and another 250 in the project management office;
  • Accommodating Stanford’s critical technology needs by devising work-arounds that allow major medical equipment to be chosen as late in the project as possible; and
  • Securing the necessary skilled manpower to build this megaproject in the busy Bay Area construction market.

 

Quick Issue Resolution through Colocation

To counter these and other daily project challenges, the design and construction team has colocated on site, setting up a 30,000-sq.-ft. “big room” trailer complex that houses the owner, design team, general contractor/ construction manager, subcontractors, OSHPD inspectors and various other stakeholders, all under one roof. The project management complex is located directly across the street from the construction site.

Colocation has been an essential ingredient in the project’s success to date, creating a highly collaborative, solution-oriented team environment.

“It’s been great, just fabulous,” Hurlbut said of the project setup. “I label our team as the “can do” team. When problems come up, we get the interested parties together, work it out and usually within a couple of hours we typically have solutions and move on. Everyone is very excited to tackle the problems and get them solved.”

Schoonover added, “On jobs of this size and complexity, colocation really is a must. It has helped tremendously in trying to solve problems in a timely manner to have all the decision makers in the same location.”

 

Project Innovations and Solutions

In addition to colocating, the project team has devised and employed numerous other innovative approaches and solutions to keep the job running at optimal efficiency.

Among the innovations:

  • A high level of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and BIM 360 has been used to minimize field clashes, facilitate communication, and tie QR codes to specific locations, offering instant access to building data (among other things).
  • Extensive prefabrication has been enabled by BIM modeling, with large portions of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems delivered preassembled on site.
  • The team has employed various technologies to facilitate different aspects of the project, such as Project Inertia to manage inspection requirements and Plan Grid for electronic document control.
  • Laser scanning has been used for both pre- and post-load scans of structural members as well as to monitor and ensure floor flatness.
  • Sustainable solutions have included using reclaimed water for dust control and installing a system that will capture all of the condensate water from the cooling system for use in watering the rooftop plants.

 

On Track for 2018 Opening

The new Stanford Hospital project was about 62 percent complete by mid-March of 2016, with 2.5 percent of the project contract being put in place each month, according to Hurlbut. Overall construction is on track to complete by the end of 2017, and Stanford expects to be treating patients at the new facility in 2018.

The hospital is a key component of the larger $5 billion Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project currently underway. That Renewal project also includes modernizing and expanding Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, replacing outdated School of Medicine facilities, renovating Hoover Pavilion and a Welch Road Utility project to support the new hospital facilities.

While the new Stanford Hospital project has demanded a massive coordination effort and brought with it the types of challenges to be expected from a project of this size, Schoonover said the collaborative team approach has been a key factor in the project’s success to date.

“We’ve got a great owner, design, inspection and construction team, and we’re all pushing for the same conclusion – to get this done as quickly as possible and give Stanford a state-of-the-art hospital so they can continue to deliver world class care here,” he commented. “This will be a project to look back upon and be really proud to have played an integral role in in building it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”