The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 16, 2015

Splash of primary colors mark DMC-Troy Children's Hospital

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

TROY - For drivers along Big Beaver Rd. east of I-75, the new Children's Hospital of Michigan-Troy looks like someone got out a giant box of Lego pieces and went to work.

Inside, the mixture of hues is also ubiquitous, but there's a method behind the color scheme and design: to make the pediatric primary care health building more inviting and less scary to kids coming to see a doctor.

“I think this is a great statement, a very honest statement of a children’s facility using primary colors,” said Troy Planning Commissioner and architect John Tagle to C and G News.

The Detroit Medical Center's $42 million project, under construction at 350 W. Big Beaver just east of I-75, will encompass three stories and 63,000 square feet. Key services in the new outpatient facility will include a 24-7 pediatric emergency room, day surgery and multiple pediatric medical and surgical specialties especially for children, including cancer and infusion therapy, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, urology, imaging and lab services.

“Having a sick, injured or chronically-ill child is not easy for the child or parents, and may often mean frequent visits for emergency care, outpatient surgery and consultations with pediatric specialists," said Larry Gold, CEO of the Children's Hospital of Michigan. "Having Children's Hospital of Michigan services like these located closer to home for so many of the patients we serve will help make the lives of many families just a bit easier.”

Christman has acted as construction manager on the Children's Hospital of Michigan-Troy, David K. Page Building, where work was winding down this month. Their onsite team has been led by Vice President John O’Toole, Project Executive Jeff Tomczak, Senior Project Manager Steve Busen, Project Supt. Brian Crumm and Project Engineer Mike Busterna.

Busen said the fast-track project, which began in September 2014, put to work about 125 Hardhats at peak employment. After the building is outfitted with furniture and medical equipment, it is expected to open to patients in early February.

"The performance by all the trades was excellent," Busen said. "And we've had zero injuries, zero lost time. They have really been safe and done a good job."

Built next to a hotel, Busen said over the course of construction many people have stopped to ask what the building is. "You tell them it's a health care facility for children, and things click. They say, 'of course it is.' It just makes sense."

With the variety of colors on the interior an exterior of the building, Busen said a major challenge was simply matching everything up. "The whole color coordination of the exterior was a challenge," he said. The mortar between the exterior matte-glazed brick had to be washed properly to get the sheen right. Aluminum mullions had to be properly matched up.

On the interior, examining rooms, operating rooms, hallway and reception areas all have their own color schemes and materials. Light fixtures can be programmed to offer colors and lights that dance. Children's art work is being incorporated into the design. 

And of course, underneath all the color are the mechanical systems for a modern health care facility: medical gases, two operating rooms, full radiology, and exam rooms. "DMC has been a great client to work with," Busen said. "There's been a lot of collaboration; this is a very well coordinated building. It's bound to win some design awards."

The building is already a hit with one of Russ Welch's nine sons. Russ is an IBEW Local 58 electrical foreman on the project working for Centerline Electric. When we featured this project last winter showing a rendering of the building, Russ said his 10-year-old called him "a cool dad" for working on a building that looks like it was built out of Legos. "It's a nice building, really unusual, and will appeal to kids for sure," he said. 

NO, IT’S NOT LEGOS – A mix of materials including glazed brick form the remarkably colorful exterior of the $42 million Detroit Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Michigan-Troy outpatient facility, which is nearing completion.

SETTING UP BOXES in a second-floor reception area the DMC-Troy Children’s Hospital is Linda Conflitti of IBEW Local 58. She’s employed by Centerline Electric.