The new Milestone hospital renovation and construction project in Peoria, Ill., built two new hospitals, renovated parts of an existing building, and tied the three together into one large unit.
It’s a whole lot easier to land a helicopter if you don’t have to navigate around tall structures—but it would be tough to construct a big hospital building without using a towercrane or two. One of the challenges posed by the Milestone project, a major hospital expansion and renovation in Peoria, was the need to keep from interfering with the existing hospital’s operations, including the frequent comings and goings of medical helicopters.
The $280-million Milestone project is expanding OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. It includes construction of a new patient tower, renovations of an existing building that will link it to the new construction, and the addition of a new parking structure.
“It’s an addition to a hospital, but it has a lot of characteristics of a replacement hospital in that it has a new emergency department, large new surgical suites and several floors of intensive care, both pediatrics and adults,” says Jim Skalla, project architect with OWP/P Cannon Design. The new building measures eight stories and 457,900 square feet, roughly half of which will be the children’s hospital. “It also has a new front door to the hospital.”
“This was a great opportunity to help the hospital reorient and create a better patient experience,” says Randy Guillot, principal and lead designer with the architectural firm. The result will be much easier navigation into and around the existing 1986 Gerlach Building. “This new building had to make that a better building. We were looking to create a very clear entry sequence for the campus by reorienting the entire entry.”
Jim Ostrom, project director for OSF, says construction started in 2007 with a series of preliminary steps. The new building would be built partly on the site of an existing parking garage, so it was necessary to first construct a new parking structure and pedestrian bridge so that the existing parking facility could be demolished. A portion of an existing pedestrian bridge from the previous parking structure was incorporated into the new construction.
Another early step was significant excavation and earth retention, necessary because the construction site was on a hillside. Ostrom says the site elevation is about three floors different between the front and back of the building. Project architect Richard Click adds that concrete wells 40 to 50 feet deep were constructed to accommodate air intakes for the building.
The new building employs a steel structure, with concrete over metal deck floors, says Greg Werner, vice president, general manager and principal in charge for Mortenson Construction. The complex exterior blends precast concrete and different curtainwall systems, along with metal panels and, in one corner, stone.
The renovation portion of the project relates primarily to the areas where the new construction interacts with the existing Gerlach Building. “There’s quite a bit of space where we tie into the new hospital—the new hospital and existing hospital butt up against one another,” Werner explains. “We’re going to punch openings into the existing hospital and that will require quite a bit of renovation in the existing hospital.”
Skalla says most of the connections between the two buildings will be level, with only a couple of places where minor ramping is required. For the most part, the new structure maintains the old building’s floor-to-floor heights...