The new 353,000-sq-ft Portneuf Medical Center, located in Pocatello, Idaho, and being lauded by some as �the jewel of the Gem State,� celebrated its grand opening at the end of April. A hospital official said that close to 14,000 people celebrated the opening by taking tours of the new medical center.

The project involved a complete campus expansion to the existing Portneuf Medical Center, essentially creating a new hospital that brings the highest level of health-care services to Pocatello, paralleling the growth of the area and keeping pace with advances in health-care technologies. The new medical center includes a six-story patient tower, along with a helipad and attached hangar.

The hospital features all private patient rooms, 187 acute care beds, a 25-bed emergency department with dedicated cardiac and trauma rooms and a fast-track triage, and 16 newborn intensive care unit beds. The medical center offers a full range of health-care services, including cardiovascular, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine services, oncology, orthopedics and pediatrics.

Additionally, the hospital has been designed and built to LEED-certification standards and utilizes sustainable building strategies to reduce operating costs, provide a healthier work environment and reduce the overall environmental impact of the project. Green features on the project include the use of low-emissions materials, recycled materials and a low reflectivity roof.

The project, which broke ground in June 2009, was designed and built on a aggressive, fast-tracked schedule. Layton Construction Co. Inc. was the general contractor for the project, which was designed by Ascension Group Architects. Layton overcame several challenges, namely that all construction was performed while the facility remained open. The existing cardiovascular operating room had to remain in operation at all times and could not be impacted or disrupted by the construction process. Additionally, the existing patient wing of the hospital had to remain occupied for the first four months of construction.

Heavy structure, deep beams and numerous angle braces were required due to the hospital’s seismically active location, adding an additional layer of complexity to the overhead coordination process.

Despite the challenges, the team completed the project in 23 months, nearly two months earlier than scheduled.