Texas Children’s Hospital Adds Event Spaces

By Eric Althoff

HOUSTON—McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. recently announced it has completed a buildout renovation inside the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (Duncan NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital, located in Houston. Work on the project for the construction company encompassed a two-floor, 32,000-square-foot auditorium and conference area that will be used to host seminars and research symposia on topics ranging from genetics to neurology and neuroscience.

The extensive work required structural demolition of the entire seventh and eighth levels of the Duncan NRI so that an existent structural deck located between those two floors could then be reinforced. The eighth floor also saw the addition of a new balcony auditorium space as a significant part of the renovation project.

Levels six through 13 of the Duncan NRI also required a new “monumental staircase” to connect these floors. This was partially accomplished via the application of steel stringers, which were so large that they needed to be moved into place from above through an opening of the NRI on the seventh floor, and then carefully lowered down and later welded into place by workers.

Because the project required demolishing 600,000 pounds of structural reinforced concrete, McCarthy’s team had to ensure that disruption to the care provided at the Duncan NRI was kept to a minimum. To accomplish this, the McCarthy workers installed noise- and vibration-monitoring sensors near especially sensitive equipment. The builders also installed a 5,000-square-foot waterproofing membrane to contain concrete slurry that was needed for the buildout.

Construction on the project began in December 2018 and required just over a year to reach completion.

“We are glad to continue our partnership with Texas Children’s and the Duncan NRI in building world-class facilities,” Preston Hodges, McCarthy Houston division vice president, said in a statement regarding the project. “Obviously completing this project in an existing, occupied laboratory building took careful consideration, but projects with these types of challenges enable McCarthy to work creatively and collaboratively.”

McCarthy’s previous work at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute entailed 23,000 square feet of lab space at the facility’s ninth level. In addition, the firm has also worked on other healthcare-related projects in the Lone Star State such as the CHRISTUS Spohn in Corpus Christi, and, also in Houston, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Alkek Hospital expansion and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center The Pavilion expansion.

“Engineering News-Record” ranked McCarthy as the nation’s 12th largest domestic general contractor in its 2019 standings.