High Health: A Look at the Presbyterian Hospital Expansion Project

If you walk this 11-story tower from top to bottom, you will have traveled seven miles.

But this tower is still a construction area for now. The smell of a construction area is felt. And this tower has more than 300 workers on site, representing dozens of subcontractors working on it to complete it by the end of this year.

This tower is that of the hospital in the center of Presbyterian’s Downtown Hospital at 1100 Central SE. In May, the main contractor of the large-scale project – Jaynes Corp. – and the architects from Dekker / Perich / Sabatini conducted a tour that included the media, business representatives and others to showcase the work done. The tour was organized by NAIOP New Mexico, a commercial real estate development organization.

“In principle, it has always been planned to be an approximately three-year project from start to finish,” said Sam Burns, senior superintendent at Jaynes who oversees the project.

In fact, the tower – which covers more than 300,000 square feet – is expected to be completed in three years, said representatives of Jaynes Corp. The contractor began work on the project in 2019. Once the project is completed, the total hospital space is now over 1 million square feet and the project costs about $ 260 million for the hospital. The expansion, which includes an already completed three-story parking garage, translates into a nearly 30 percent increase in space, Burns said. This is one of Jaynes’ biggest projects to date.

The expansion of Presbyterian’s Downtown Hospital is under way before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with an aging healthcare population, but came at a time when more hospital beds were needed to deal with the increase in coronavirus cases that require hospital.

Huge range

Early construction included more than 100 shutdowns of various types of services for the infrastructure side of the project, including Presbyterian’s main sewer, which had to be replaced by a temporary elevator station.

“It took us about a year to prepare everything to start fundamental work on the project,” Burns said.

The 144 rooms – each room is about 250 square feet – are included on floors three to eight. The tower also includes two floor levels, some of which will include space for a large “correction” laboratory, where pathological samples taken from patients are examined under a microscope. The floors on the upper level are currently left as space for future expansion.

And the tower includes a doctor’s kitchen for hospital staff, as well as a garden. On the roof of the tower is the “penthouse”, which refers to the mechanical systems that will keep the tower running. These systems include air blocks that supply air to the floors of the tower.

“We have just completed a large part of the carbon steel pipelines that enter the water supply and return coil,” said Chris Burks, project manager for Yearout Mechanical, one of the many subcontractors working on the project.

However, changes in the project occurred as the pandemic became a reality for the contractors. These changes include the seventh and eighth floors, which are used specifically as isolation rooms for patients with COVID-19 and others with diseases that need to be controlled. PPE baskets are at the entrance to almost every patient room in the tower.

Patient experience

Wall lights illuminate the halls of the tower instead of overhead lighting, which allows patients to feel more comfortable not being blinded by the lights when they move to their beds.

“If you’ve ever had a hospital procedure or had to stay in a hospital, you’ll get a questionnaire – a basic satisfaction thing that goes into the funding the hospital actually receives,” said Wes Townsend, a trainee architect with Dekker / Perich / Sabatini, who worked on the project. “The patient’s experience is very important because the hospital can get more funding if it is higher.

Effectiveness measures

The tower has some energy-saving attributes. That includes a cogeneration unit that could save the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars, and perhaps even a million or more in annual utility costs, Burns said.

“It’s basically a 24/7 generator,” Burns said. “And for the most part it works with natural gas. … This is the first thing we did. In fact, we are fixing it to prepare to install it. We are waiting for the final permission to pass and then we can ask for it. But that’s one of the things (Presbyterians) are trying to do to help with utility bills and some of the renewable energy they can actually produce. “

The design of the hospital is done in a way that allows nurses and doctors to take fewer steps. The nurses on each patient floor are centered in the middle, as are the equipment and medicine rooms, among others. It’s designed as a racetrack, Burns said.

“(They) are trying to reduce the number of steps they have to take during the shift, because if the nurses run out, it can end up affecting your patient,” Townsend said.

Presbyterian spokesman Melanie Moses said the tower is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.

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