Perkins Eastman, McCarthy Building Companies Apply Latest Technology for Marin Hospital Expansion

By Roxanne Squires

GREENBRAE, Calif. — Progress continues on Marin General Hospital’s (MGH) brand-new $535 million replacement building —  a project aiming to meet the latest regulations in health care and seismic safety for hospitals mandated to be met by 2030.  

Connected to the hospital’s current west wing — the four-story, 260,000-square-foot replacement building consists of new hospital towers housing 114 private rooms, an expanded emergency department and six new operating/procedural suites —  all of which are designed to accommodate state-of-the-art imaging equipment and other technical innovations, including robotics.

The new facilities will feature larger operating rooms and an emergency department with increased diagnostic and treatment capabilities.

Moreover, work on a 100-square-foot, five-story ambulatory services building and a second parking structure will commence soon after the new hospital towers are complete.

Construction for MGH’s hospital replacement building began in 2016 – led by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. as the general contractor, alongside facility design architect, Perkins Eastman, Inc.

Perkins Eastman developed a design concept that would produce ease and a sense of wellbeing that could be fully integrated in and throughout the hospital without interfering with the efficiencies and effectiveness required to run a successful healthcare facility.  

The shift in design thinking allowed the team to look at the floors, walls, and ceilings as opportunities to maximize the comfort of patients, their families and staff.  

According to McCarthy’s Vice President of Healthcare in the Northern Pacific region, Simon Gregson and Perkins Eastman Principal, Jason Haim, AIA, LEED AP – the design team wanted to create something more for the facility standing in the midst of Marin County’s vast, green landscape.

In lieu of the standard “vanilla” hospital design, the team created a building that integrated and invited the surrounding natural environment. This concept is supported by the organization of all the public corridors, waiting rooms and gardens.

The space is activated by multiple levels of indoor/outdoor waiting and also integrates nearby landscape and light that all the waiting areas face. A patient or family member, with views to the exterior from every point within the building, is instantly oriented as to where they are in the building, the time of day, and the weather. This works to remove much any angst an individual may feel when asked to sit in a window less environment with the stress associated with their or a loved one’s care.

The design team also took this one step further in the patient units by providing a solarium (indoor/outdoor room) on every unit. 

During nice weather, the room can be opened to the exterior deck which patients can access without having to leave the unit; even if tethered to an IV pole. 

The team also eliminated the typical columns in the corners of the nurse stations giving them unobstructed views of the rooms around the unit along with windows at the ends of the corridors allowing additional light onto each unit. 

“These elements along with the careful planning of where equipment goes will likely provide a game changing environmental shift in hospital interior design as the benefits of hospitality-based wellness environments are realized,” said Gregson and Haim. “Supporting the physicians and staff health and wellbeing also played a crucial role in how the building was designed. Great care was taken to create an environment that would enhance the employee experience by providing places to rest, regroup, reconnect and recharge.”

Many modern technologies will also be integrated into this building to improve both efficiency and safety.

Digital signage and room scheduling assists in creating efficiency in scheduling and maximizing the use of available rooms.  he patient rooms employ a proprietary system that integrates room service, education, and electronic nursing and physician support with the click of a button. Building automation ensures that the building actively responds to the environment enabling the entire facility to continuously be a high-performing and sustainable environment. 

Since the facility is in-between the Hayward and San Andreas earthquake faults, elements to help mitigate damage during a disaster have been set in place. Laboratory and field-tested steel moment frame“SidePlate” joints were incorporated, which permits the facility to remain open and operational to the public in case of a significant earthquake. By incorporating this, the new hospital is built to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

Several technological solutions have also been employed during the construction phase. 4D modeling was used for the project’s shoring system and build-out of the sunken garden, which presented a challenge for the team.

The site’s proximity to the existing facility, excavation on hard rock and complex concrete work, coupled with the topography in the area, presented a layer of complexity for completion.

For McCarthy to better combat the challenge of elevation changes of the sunken garden, the team modeled the existing facility and terrain as well as the shoring. The team used this model not only to aid in the fabrication and procurement of tie-backs, but also for planning of sequencing. The 4D model allowed everyone on the team to better understand the sequence of installation.

Additionally, the project utilizes drones on a weekly basis to take aerial images of the site for project oversight, aiding in creating safer work conditions as dangerous situations can be detected before an incident can occur as well as preventing wasted time and money on projects by allowing end-users to view design flaws or make aesthetic decisions prior to construction.

Ultimately, the design can be “experienced” before the project is done, eliminating guess work during the process.

Construction of the hospital is expected to be completed in late 2019, followed by the opening of MGH 2.0 for patient care in mid-2020. The design team is pursuing LEED certification. 

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