Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health care System Replacement Hospital
New Orleans
Best Project

Owner: Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Lead Design Firm: Studio Nova LP (NBBJ as Lead Designer With EDR and Rozas Ward as Architectural Participants)
General Contractor: Clark/McCarthy Healthcare Partners
Civil Engineer: Schrenk & Peterson Consulting Engineers Inc.
Structural Engineer: Korda/Nemeth Engineering
MEP Engineer: Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers LLC

The eight-story, 1.6-million-sq-ft hospital replaces an aging Dept. of Veterans Affairs hospital in downtown New Orleans that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Sitting atop 31 acres in the Mid-City neighborhood, the facility is the first major health care center in New Orleans dedicated to veterans to be built in the area in a decade. It serves more than 70,000 veterans in a 23-parish catchment area and across the Gulf Coast, with an anticipated 550,000 annual visits.

For maximum resiliency, the design team moved the emergency room and all essential utilities above the 20-ft base flood elevation. Since the project sits 3 ft below sea level, the team also drove a 5-ft-sq grid of wicks 50 ft below ground. Per stringent federal design requirements, the hospital also was constructed with 30% more steel in the frame.

Cost control was a significant challenge as the nation emerged from the 2008 financial crisis. The project team collaborated on innovative cost-saving suggestions for the VA to review throughout preconstruction and in the bid packages. By the time the project reached its fixed price, hundreds of cost-saving ideas had been approved and incorporated into key elements: the enclosure and skin, interior finishes, equipment, plumbing, HVAC, electrical and low-voltage systems.

Additionally, more than $230 million worth of contracts were awarded to over 100 subcontractors on this project, most of them small businesses.

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