ENR Texas & Louisiana's 2010 Owner of the Year: Texas Children’s Hospital
...coordination with existing users was necessary throughout the project, which completed in 2009. Crews worked above sensitive laboratory space, which had to stay in operation during construction. Crews had to work consistently with the owners to monitor vibration, noise and air quality.
The new space ties into existing electrical and mechanical systems, which required occasional shutdowns of critical equipment, says Tony Mansoorian, director of operations for the Medical Center renovation team at W.S. Bellows Construction.
They are heavily involved with the day-to-day activities and getting the necessary shutdowns with the user groups,” he says. “They were heavily involved in making sure that the researchers knew when the shutdowns would occur and what needed to remain in operation so we could provide temporary power.”
The 15-story Maternity Center, which broke ground in 2008 and will complete in 2012, is the largest Vision 2010 project with the longest schedule. The building will connect to the existing Texas Children’s Hospital campus via a two-story signature elliptical bridge. Pearsall says the team has worked extensively on construction logistics, including coordination with the light-rail system that passes under the bridge.
“That’s the one that makes me lose sleep at night,” she says. “It will be a challenge, but a tremendous reward.”
The Neurological Research Institute, which broke ground in 2007, will be the first comprehensive pediatric neurological research center of its kind in the world when it completes this year. Crews are building the 14-story research facility on a very tight urban site. One side of the building is only 6-in. from its neighbor; another is 30 ft away from a parking garage; and the other two sides are 20 ft away from the property line. The site has minimal street frontage, so designers created a “twisting tower” concept as an iconic feature. The concept required significant constructability reviews, including bringing the curtainwall contractor on board early to help with the process.
The West Campus, which broke ground in May 2008 and will open this year, is being built on 55 acres west of Houston. The project has created a unique challenge for Texas Children’s, as it will be a departure from the urban look and feel of the Texas Medical Center.
“It was 55 acres of, ‘What do we do with it?’” Pearsall says.
The team went through extensive master planning with its user groups and stakeholders, trying to strike a balance between programmatic demands, community context, and future expansion plans.
“To see them go through that master plan was very impressive,” Stringer says. “They understood what they wanted, where they wanted it and the reasons behind everything. A lot of times owners leave that up to architects. . . They are, in my opinion, the best owner I’ve worked with in many years.”
For Pearsall, her staff and the Texas Children’s community at large, being a hands-on owner is not just a matter of paying close attention to the bottom line, it’s about the impact these facilities will have for years to come.
“Beyond bringing these buildings to life, we have an important mission ahead of us that reaches an international audience of families,” she adds. “When you keep that in perspective, it helps people understand how this program will serve our community. It makes people proud.”