Healthcare Megaprojects ~ Impressive & Complex

by Sami Barry
hospital emergency entrance

U.S. healthcare institutions continue to initiate large capital projects as part of their short- and long-term strategies to be preferred providers of care. As such, these organizations depend upon healthcare design and construction firms for innovation, and constant expansion and enhancement of their capabilities and services.

While healthcare megaprojects are especially attractive to prominent design and construction entities, these developments are complex in a variety of ways. Healthcare institutions not only need projects to address current needs and industry trends, but they need them to be flexible to also provide solutions in the future. Needless to say, these projects are complicated, and time and effort intensive. This isn't surprising considering what the healthcare sector has gone through in the past decade, and the ever-changing dynamics it continues to deal with regarding technological advancements, changes in U.S. healthcare policy and reimbursement, an increasing population needing care, and how care must be and could be delivered in the future. 

According to a recent article by DPR Construction entitled The Future of Healthcare, the top 5 concerns about design and planning among healthcare organizations are: flexibility, universal design, standardization, energy conservation, and sustainability. Add other factors to that mix such as changing technologies, and the need to prepare for the future and you’ve got a long, complex list before you even begin a project. 

When it comes to minor or major construction projects, institutions demand much of design and construction teams, both within the institution and in external partners. They look to architects and construction firms that understand the sector, its challenges and opportunities, and that have proven experience delivering projects that provide returns on investments through capital and operational cost savings. 

While there are numerous healthcare megaprojects going on in U.S. right now, we wanted to highlight a few that are being initiated by children's hospitals, in particular:  

Boston Children’s Hospital

  • Construction program encompasses several locations: 

    • Longwood Campus Renewal, which will include making all rooms private, a rooftop garden, and pedestrian bridge. First phase will take place Q2 2018 through Q2 2021. Last phase will be Q3 2021 to Q1 2024.

    • Brookline Place, which entails an eight-story, 182,500 SF mixed use building with medical offices, ambulatory care, and retail space; a six-story, 47,000 SF medical office building expansion; and a seven-level 675-space parking garage.

    • Children’s Clinical Building, which encompasses a five-story tower with NICU unit, 96 private inpatient rooms, cardiac clinic, info-sharing hubs, operating rooms, radiology suite; three acres of surgical space, clinic lab, and 25% more green and open space.

  • Program value: $1B.

  • Project team includes Suffolk Construction and Shepley Bulfinch.

  • Worthy to note: Boston Children’s Hospital was ranked #1 Best Children’s Hospital in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report.

Read more about Boston Children's expansion plan.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

  • New campus will be located at North Druid Hill and I-85, replacing its current location at Egleston. It features two towers with a total of 446 beds, medical office building, cancer and blood disorders center, central energy plant, and 20+ acres of green space with walking trails and paths. Already in progress is a Center for Advanced Pediatrics, which will open this summer.
  • Value: $1.3B.
  • Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and be completed in 2026. 
  • Project team includes HKS Inc. (lead architect for pediatric center and replacement hospital), Brasfield & Gorrie (Construction Manager), and JE Dunn (Construction Manager of medical office building, central utility plant, and parking decks).

Read more about Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's expansion plan.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

  • Features an eight-story tower of 650,000 SF. The facility will have a total of 570 – 610 beds, emergency department, and rooftop heliport.
  • Value: $650M, which is the largest investment the non-profit institution has ever made. 
  • Expected completion is 2021.
  • Project team includes GBBN Architects, and ZGF Architects, and Messer Construction.
  • Worthy to note: Institution was ranked #3 best children’s hospital in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report.

Read more about Cincinnati Children's expansion plan.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

  • The latest project in this major development is a $412M, 625,000 SF research center, which will double research space and include a glass-walled laboratory space, penthouse, and state-of-the-art labs for immunology, neurobiology, cell and molecular biology, gene editing, metabolomics, advanced microscopy, epigenetics, genomics, immunotherapy and RNA biology. There will be six floors of research labs, two floors for future expansion, evolving technology, and biorepository.
  • Total program value: $7B.
  • Project team includes The Crump FirmJacobs Engineering, and Flintco.
  • Worthy to note: Since its founding in 1962, St. Jude has helped to raise the survival rate of children's cancer to more than 80% in developed countries.

Read more about St. Jude's expansion plan.

Be sure to read our post on the skills and capabilities necessary in a healthcare institution's construction leadership based on our experience of securing senior-level executives for these types of projects.

We will leave you with the top design and construction firms in the healthcare sector based on the results of analyses performed approximately one year ago.