The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, September 29, 2006

Expanding Sparrow Hospital goes west

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

LANSING - More than 200 Hardhats are putting their skills to work building the Sparrow Health System West Wing Addition, the largest construction project at the facility in two decades.

The building trades and program/construction manager Granger are up to their elbows in construction activity at the hospital, and work is currently focusing on building the 450,000-square-foot, eleven-story addition. The trades are also erecting a new utility plant on Sparrow grounds, and performing various renovations in the existing hospital.

"We're right on schedule," said Jon Upton, project director for Granger. "There's a project labor agreement on this job, and that's been working well; it means we're getting the best of the best contractors and workers. And the craftsmanship has been excellent."

With some of the buildings on the Sparrow campus dating to the 1950s, architect HDR Inc/Neumann-Smith said the design concept for the hospital addition and parking structure "creates a unified contemporary appearance to the various architectural styles and materials of the existing buildings."

This 7-year, $150 million phase of construction at Sparrow began in 2003 with the erection of a 1,200-spot parking deck. That was followed by the creation of a new main entrance/lobby that eventually will connect the new parking deck to the old main entrance. The West Wing addition will house six operating rooms, with adjacent patient prep and recovery areas. First floor space will house a new Emergency Department which will include 75 treatment bays.

The third floor level of the West Wing addition will be a new 34-bed ICU/ CCU department and the forth floor will be a new Cardiology floor. The fifth and sixth floors will have new patient beds, and the floors above the sixth will be shelled out for further expansion.

Some completed patient rooms will be turned over to Sparrow at the end of 2007, and floors in the rest of the addition will be completed in phases throughout 2008.

A new central utility plant with related utility tunnels is also being built on the campus to accommodate the greater electrical demands of the new tower, as well as to replace aging equipment. The plant's new boilers will be dual-fueled, primarily by natural gas but also by diesel. Backup emergency generators will be able to provide power to the entire campus.

"This effort is Sparrow's most ambitious project in more than two decades and addresses significant healthcare needs prominent on our community's horizon," said Sparrow President Dennis Swan. "A successful future for Sparrow will ensure that all patients, today and for generations to come, can benefit from the latest medical techniques and technologies."

Upton said there are several factors which contribute to making this project a challenge. Operations at the hospital are ongoing, and limited lay-down/staging area is available. Working adjacent to an existing middle school adds to the safety challenges of the project along with working above the main entrance to the hospital.

Utility lines from the new Central Utility Plant to the hospital run under the school's parking lot. The city has torn up Michigan Avenue in front of the hospital. The hospital is as busy as ever, and tradespeople and hospital personnel do their best to stay out of each other's way.

"It's not like putting up a building in a field," Upton said. "There's a lot that has to be brought together and everything has to be done in phases. We have to coordinate with a lot of parties to make this work."

A PORTION of the $150 million expansion of Sparrow Hospital, as seen from Michigan Avenue in Lansing.
SETTING UP a box in a patient room in the West Wing Addition at Sparrow Health System is Erik Buckley of IBEW Local 665 and Summit Contractors.