The team building the $108-million, 12-story J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla., had to overcome tricky underground issues, a cramped site and late design changes to get this health care facility up and running. Built in five phases over 32 months, the 338,000-sq-ft tower includes 156 patient rooms, surgery suites and a neuroscience institute for adults.

Photo by Jim Roof, Jim Roof Creative
The J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower at Baptist Medical Center earned an Award of Merit in the Health Care category of this year's Best Projects contest.

A key challenge lay in a site that was hemmed in by buildings on three sides. Avoiding an underground tunnel housing water and power lines that ran the length of the tight site was another. Instead of rerouting this existing infrastructure, contractors reinforced the tunnel with soil nails before installing the project's 88 caissons—which measured between 2 ft and 8 ft in diameter—around the underground structure.

A formed concrete structure comprises the tower's first two stories before transitioning to a steel structure for the remaining floors. Because the two systems could not be aligned, the team accommodated the shift by setting transfer beams at 45-degree angles. A $4-million scope change midway through construction added a new lobby, building entry points and concourses as well as high-end finishes—but no schedule extension. Even so, contractors completed construction on schedule, under budget and with zero lost-time accidents.

Award of Merit, Health Care:

J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower at Baptist Medical Center, Jacksonville, Fla.

Key Players

Contractor Batson-Cook Co., Jacksonville

Owner Baptist Health, Jacksonville

Lead Designer Stanley Beaman & Sears, Atlanta

Structural Engineer Structural Engineers Group, Jacksonville

Civil Engineer King Engineering Associates, Jacksonville

MEP Engineer TLC Engineers, Jacksonville