MultiCare Central Utility Plant

Photo: Eckert & Eckert

MultiCare’s 20,000 square foot Central Utility Plant is on the edge of campus near the highest concentration of buildings. It includes steam boilers, emergency power generators and distribution equipment, control room, offices, lockers, maintenance shop, and medical gas tank farm. Principal equipment consists of three boilers (two 40,000 lb/hr and one 20,000 lb/hr); three emergency generators (1.5 MW - 12.47 kV); electrical switchgear for back-up of both emergency and normal power distribution; and a 175 psig compressed air system. An 80,000 gallon back-up fuel oil tank is located below grade in the adjacent alley. Redundancy and expansion space are provided for both steam and power systems. The structure, comprised of steel columns and spanning members, and massive concrete shear walls, is engineered to withstand a severe earthquake and remain operational.

The brick and cast stone exterior facing the city park is designed to respect neighboring vintage buildings. Generous windows allow controlled views of inner operations. Public artwork and traditional inscriptions call attention to the scientific and technological advances behind the production and distribution of steam and electricity.

JTM, Seattle, organized coordination meetings between equipment vendors, engineers and Wood Harbginger, Bellevue, to ensure proper operation, and conformance with the design intent.

Submittal review, start-up and commissioning of the Central Utility Plant was extremely complicated. The project team worked very closely together to specify, review and order much of the specialty equipment in time to maintain schedule and allow work to proceed uninterrupted.

Key Players
Owner: MultiCare Health System, Tacoma
General Contractor: JTM, Seattle
Architect: GBJ Architecture, Portland
Structural Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions, Tacoma
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Wood/Harbinger, Bellevue
Subcontractors: Bestchart Electric Co., Olympia, Wash.; Shinn Mechanical, Kent, Wash,; Henderson Masonary, Des Moines, Wash.