If you walk this 11-story tower from top to bottom, you will have traveled seven miles.
But this tower, for now, is still a construction area. The smell of a construction area is apparent. And this tower has more than 300 workers on site, representing dozens of subcontractors working on it to complete it by the end of this year.
This tower is that of the Presbyterian’s Downtown Hospital at 1100 Central SE. In May, the general contractor for the massive project – Jaynes Corp. – and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Architects led a tour that included media, business representatives and others to show off the work that was done. The tour was organized by NAIOP New Mexico, a commercial real estate development organization.
“Basically, it was always planned that this would be about a three-year project from start to finish,” said Sam Burns, chief superintendent at Jaynes who oversees the project.
Indeed, the tower — which measures more than 300,000 square feet — is expected to be completed within three years, Jaynes Corp representatives said. The contractor began work on the project in 2019. Upon completion, the hospital’s total space now stands at over one million square feet and the project costs approximately $260 million to build. the hospital. The expansion, which also includes a now-completed three-story parking garage, results in a nearly 30% increase in space, Burns said. This is one of Jaynes’ biggest projects to date.
The expansion of Presbyterian’s Downtown Hospital was underway before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to address an aging health care population, but has come at a time when more hospital beds are needed to coping with the increase in coronavirus cases requiring hospital stays.
Early builds included over 100 stops across various types of services for the infrastructure side of the project, including the Presbyterian Main Sewer which had to be replaced with a temporary lift station.
“It took us about a year to get everything ready for us to start foundation work on the project,” Burns said.
The 144 rooms — each room spans about 250 square feet — range between floors three through eight. The tower also includes two sub-floor levels, some of which will include space for a large “magnification” laboratory, where pathology samples taken from patients are studied under a microscope. The upper floors, for now, are left as shell space for future expansion.
And the tower includes a medical kitchen for hospital employees, as well as a garden. On the roof of the tower is the “penthouse”, which refers to the mechanical systems that will keep the tower moving. These systems include air handling units that supply air to the floors of the tower.
“We have just completed a lot of the carbon steel piping that goes into the coil for water supply and return,” said Chris Burks, project manager at Yearout Mechanical – one of many under – contractors working on the project.
Changes to the project, however, took place when the pandemic became a reality for entrepreneurs. These changes include floors seven and eight being used specifically as isolation rooms for COVID-19 patients and others with illnesses that need to be contained. PPE bins are located almost at the entrance to each patient room in the tower.
Wall sconces litter the hallways of the tower instead of overhead lighting, allowing patients to feel more comfortable not being blinded by lights when moved around in bed.
“If you’ve ever had surgery in a hospital or had to stay in a hospital, you’ll be given a questionnaire — basically a satisfaction question that goes into the funding the hospital actually receives,” said Wes Townsend, a trainee architect. with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini who worked on the project. “The patient experience is very important because the hospital can receive more funding if it is higher.”
The tower has energy saving attributes. That includes a cogeneration unit that can save the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly a million or more, in annual utility costs, Burns said.
“It’s basically a generator that runs 24/7,” Burns said. “And, for the most part, it runs on natural gas. … It’s the first one we’ve done. We are preparing to install it. We are waiting for a final permit and then we can install it. But that’s one of the things that (Presbyterians) are trying to do to help with utility bills and some of the renewable energy that they can actually produce. .”
The layout of the hospital has been designed to allow nurses and doctors to take fewer steps. Nurses’ stations on each patient floor are centered in the middle, along with equipment and medication spaces, among others. It was designed as a “racetrack,” Burns said.
“(They) try to reduce the number of steps they have to take on the shift because if the nurses burn out, it could impact your patient down the line,” Townsend said.
Presbyterian spokeswoman Melanie Mozes said the tower is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.