Shelby County Health Dept.

Memphis, Tenn.

Award of Merit, Government/Public Building

Submitted By: Turner Construction Co.

Owner: Shelby County, Tenn.

Lead Design Firm: brg3s architects

General Contractor: Turner Construction Co.

Civil Engineer: Smith Seckman Reid

Structural Engineer: Smith Seckman Reid

MEP Engineer: Smith Seckman Reid

Landscape Architect: Kersey/Wike Associates

Replacing a facility dating to the 1950s, the three-story, 95,000-sq-ft Shelby County Health Department building incorporates elements aimed at promoting healthy living in the heart of the Memphis Medical District. The building’s form was derived from thorough research of facilities based in health and wellness concepts that also support critical research of community-based disease preparedness initiatives. Adaptable offices and examination rooms, located close to each other, are the same size so they can be used interchangeably as health needs evolve. High-efficiency HVAC systems meet or exceed all current energy-conservation requirements and offer long-term reliability with minimal maintenance needs.

The emergence of COVID-19 during construction put the project team’s own health and safety resilience to the test. One of the region’s first projects to implement measures to prevent virus spread, the effort included daily cleaning of high-touch areas throughout the jobsite and office, mandatory temperature scanning for all personnel onsite, and social distancing and mask requirements.

The building’s exterior design was a challenge, as it features metal wall panels laid out on a 48-inch grid, with a half-inch joint every 4 feet. Ensuring all panels precisely lined up to achieve the architect’s vision required an intense quality control, coordination and communication effort involving the construction leadership, design team and exterior envelop subcontractor.

A strategic, two-tiered approach to MWBE involvement in the project applied high-dollar trade outreach and trade package rightsizing. This enabled the project to achieve 42% MWBE participation, far surpassing the original project goal of 28%.