Hoar Construction, of Birmingham, completed a $61 million expansion of the Studer Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida several months ago. Upgrades included adding a single-story vertical expansion to the existing hospital, a new four-story tower and a basement. The 150,000-square-foot expansion features a pediatric emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric imaging department, playrooms and a new family-friendly dining venue, says Senior Project Manager David Roberts.
The medical center, which is the only children’s hospital in Northwest Florida, stayed open throughout the 25-month construction project. “We did considerable planning around infection control, cleanliness, noise, and mechanical/electrical/plumbing interruptions,” Roberts says. “We were in constant contact with the owner when working on building systems, as that affects patients, families and staff. Our project team and the hospital partnered well together throughout the construction process.”
Even though the project faced numerous challenges, it was completed two months earlier than expected. “Over the course of the project, we lost 137 days of production due to weather and received 170 inches (more than 14 feet) of rain,” Roberts says. “This rain was a challenge because we had to excavate nearly 25 feet of existing soils out of the entire building footprint, including areas below the existing building to install the foundation system.”
HKS Inc., the architect and interior designer, created an under-the-sea theme for the new facility. “The design is unique and fitting for both its patients and location,” Roberts says. “CT scanning rooms feature ocean imagery and sea animals, snack bar guests are greeted by a giant sea turtle, and murals and artwork feature sea creatures and seascapes throughout the hospital.”