PROJECT OF THE MONTH: Replacement Naval Hospital

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The Replacement Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton Project is six months ahead of the full concept schedule and is slated to open to the public in early December 2013.

The 500,000-square-foot multilevel hospital is set on 70 acres on Camp Pendleton in Southern California. It is the Navy’s largest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project. It will provide medical services for surgery, patient overnight stays, dental care, intensive care, and general medical and emergency care. It will include a central utilities plant, a 1,500-space multilevel parking structure (with an additional 1,000 spaces outside the structure) and site development. The contract requires that the project achieve LEED Gold certification.

The new facility will replace the existing naval hospital on Camp Pendleton. The main goal of this project was to provide a facility that meets all of the latest seismic requirements, said Commander Dude Underwood, resident officer in charge of construction for the project.

The project team consists of HKS Inc. as the architect and a joint venture between Clark Construction Group and McCarthy Building Companies as the construction manager. All three companies have offices in San Diego nearby Camp Pendleton.

The $446 million design-build contract, awarded to the Clark-McCarthy team, required an aggressive timeline from conception to final commissioning of the hospital because the delivery method allowed the project team to start construction without having every detail of the design completed, said Carlos Gonzalez, project director for the Clark-McCarthy joint venture project. The contract also included planned modifications for furnishings, fixtures and equipment. Gonzalez said it is rare to have the same entity complete both for a project of this kind.

While the design-build delivery method allowed for efficiencies, the time limit on the project also served as a challenge. Because the project was funded by the ARRA, the project’s funding came with an expiration, so the project team had a specific window of time to get the project done.

“We needed to organize our design so that we could start construction as early as possible,” Gonzalez said. “What we did was create six separate packages and organize them in terms of a time and research standpoint.”

Another challenge was the project requirement to benefit the local economy. That meant that 45 percent of the subcontracts had to be awarded to small businesses. The project met and exceeded that goal, delivering more than 75 percent of small business participation, Gonzalez said.

Underwood said the northwest corner of the building stands out the most in terms of design. “The building was essentially opened up by taking this portion of the building and pulling it away from the rest, creating a crown above it with a reflecting metal surface.”

Gonzalez added that he agrees this section will become iconic for the hospital. He also said that the location of the facility, situated along Interstate 5, gives the building a prominent display.

Both Underwood and Gonzalez also agreed that the safety record on the project has been significant for the team. Gonzalez said that so far the team has completed 2.6 million hours with zero lost-time incidents.

The connection between the project team and the mission of the project was another key factor for all of the workers involved. “It’s inescapable to all of us — the connection of what we’re doing in building a health care facility to treat the men and women in uniform, including wounded warriors, and their dependents,” Underwood said. “As I make my way around the site, I talk to those involved in construction, and they all are immediately aware of the reason and benefit of doing it well.”

Gonzalez added that the mission allowed for them to have better success in terms of meeting the safety, quality and schedule goals. “When you can look at the workers in the eye and say, ‘The sooner you finish, the sooner wounded warriors can be treated and every dollar you saved is a tax dollar that doesn’t have to be spent,’ it actually makes a difference and allows us to engage them on a much more personal level,” he said.