March 5, 2015

Demolished in the May 22, 2011, EF-5 tornado – the deadliest tornado in the U.S. since 1947 – the new Mercy Hospital Joplin is set to open its doors to patients on March 22, 2015.  The $345 million (total project cost), 260-plus, private room hospital replaces the former St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center. 

In addition to setting the standard in tornado readiness at the hospital level, the project was completed under budget and in less than half the time it would have taken for a comparable facility. 

“From the first few moments after the tornado tore through Joplin, staff from McCarthy and HKS were on the ground to offer immediate assistance,” commented McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Wittkop. The team of construction manager McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., architectural firms HKS, Inc. and Archimages, and MEP Engineer Heideman & Associates joined together to assist Mercy in any way necessary. 

“It was just the right thing to do,” said Norman Morgan, AIA, HKS principal-in-charge. “This project was meaningful on many levels. It wasn’t only about a facility, it was about people – a community suffering from loss and devastation. Our job was to give them hope – give them back their hospital. This rebuilding effort became part of the healing process for the community.” 

After the group assessed the damage, Mercy made a promise to the community to rebuild the hospital by early 2015. With this upcoming opening, the team has delivered on this promise, providing a safe, state-of-the-art healthcare facility for Joplin and the surrounding communities it serves. 

The new 890,000-square-foot facility includes hospital space, seven-story patient tower and four-story clinic tower and houses: medical surgical; critical care; women’s/children’s (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms); behavioral health and rehab.  

Unprecedented Speed
“Speed of delivery was of the utmost importance,” stated Mercy’s John Farnen, executive director of strategic projects. “It took a truly collaborative effort to design and construct this hospital so quickly.”

Ryan Felton, McCarthy project director, explained, “This replacement hospital is opening just 46 months after the tornado hit Joplin, which is approximately half the time you would normally anticipate to plan, design and construct a similarly sized hospital.”

 “A standard design schedule is typically 8 ½ months,” said Morgan. “To meet the fast-track Mercy Joplin schedule, McCarthy began construction just three months after starting design. To move this fast, we worked as a seamless team with our client located in Joplin and their corporate offices in St. Louis as well as McCarthy and our many consultants. A Revit model allowed us to update changes just-in-time with the team. And, an astute and nimble client made working through the process efficient as well as rewarding.” 

In order to move quickly, Mercy, HKS and McCarthy utilized Building Information Modeling (BIM) to avoid potential issues later in the field. Prefabrication also enabled McCarthy to accelerate the construction. Headwalls and restroom walls for all 198 patient rooms currently built out were constructed in a warehouse and installed later in the construction process. 

Safety and Resiliency
As national companies, both HKS and McCarthy had prior experience designing and constructing storm-resistant facilities in coastal regions. The new hospital incorporates many resiliency elements to help withstand another natural disaster and provide a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors. 

“We used lessons learned from the disaster and experience working in coastal regions to design and build a safer, more secure facility,” said Morgan. “For example, we designed protected evacuation routes, incorporated high impact glass and protected critical systems throughout the hospital.” Critical areas of the hospital, such as the emergency department and intensive-care unit, have windows rated to withstand 250 mph winds. High-impact, laminated glass was incorporated throughout the facility along with protected evacuation routes. 

Connected to the hospital by a 450-foot underground tunnel, is a 30,000-square-foot central utility plant containing all mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. To protect critical hospital systems, the utility plant was built halfway below ground to limit exposure to the elements and the generator system will enable the hospital to operate for 96 hours if power is lost. 

In order to create ease of access to the new hospital, McCarthy also built new entrance ramps, exit ramps and interchanges for the Missouri Department of Transportation, as well as a new road leading up to the facility.

“The new Mercy Hospital Joplin exemplifies teamwork, commitment and innovation,” stated Felton. “We are so proud to be able to deliver this world-class facility to the Joplin community. It’s more than just a hospital. This project represents hope, and it has been an honor to be a part of it.” 

About HKS, Inc.: HKS is ranked among the top healthcare architectural firms in the world by Modern Healthcare and BD World Architecture. Operating from 26 offices worldwide, HKS focuses on innovative healthcare design, process and delivery. The firm’s award-winning healthcare architecture includes 2,000 unique projects representing 80,000 beds and 184 million square feet. HKS projects have garnered numerous awards and coverage in worldwide publications. The firm’s healthcare specialists are highly respected international speakers. 

About McCarthy: McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has been setting the industry standard in healthcare construction for over a century. Ranked the largest healthcare builder in America by Modern Healthcare, McCarthy has constructed more than 800 significant healthcare facilities and renovated thousands more. McCarthy offers its clients the full range of construction delivery methods – construction management, general contracting, and design/build – whether for one individual project, a sustaining work program or a system-wide facilities program. With national headquarters in St. Louis, McCarthy also has full-service offices in San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Albuquerque; Dallas; Houston; Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill. and Kansas City, Kan. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. 

About Mercy: Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,900 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.

For more information, please contact Trish Martineck at tmartineck@hksinc.com

Posted in Health
Tagged hardening design, McCarthy Building Companies, Mercy Joplin, Norman Morgan, Tim Solohubow, tornado resistant design, weather ready design