Queen’s West Medical Center reopened its doors on May 20, 2014, signaling a return of top-notch care to West Oahu
The closing of Hawaii Medical Center’s (HMC) west campus due to bankruptcy in 2011 left residents of the hospital’s service area on the west side of Oahu without easy geographic access to hospital care or emergency medical services. When HMC announced it would be shutting its doors, healthcare providers across Oahu assumed responsibility for the hospital’s existing patients and worked diligently to fill the void. But the closing produced a major services gap on the island, particularly in trauma and emergency care.
The former medical center’s two main buildings sat empty for more than a year. Then, in late 2012, The Queen’s Health Systems (QHS), Honolulu, announced that it had acquired the campus from St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii. The acquisition set ambitious new plans in motion, not only for the return of critical services to this rapidly growing area of Oahu, but also for the expansion of those services to meet an anticipated increase in demand.
QHS’s purchase of HMC is expected to mean good things for the depth and quality of healthcare for the area’s residents. The system’s flagship 495-bed facility, The Queen’s Medical Center, which has served the people of Oahu for more than 150 years and is considered “the trauma center for the Pacific,” was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 medical center in Hawaii. “We look forward to serving the people of West Oahu with the same standard of excellence that has been the foundation of our founders’ values and vision,” Art Ushijima, president of QHS, said in a statement.
Shortly after the acquisition, QHS embarked on a major $70 million renovation of the former HMC’s two buildings. The system chose MGI Consulting, Inc. (MGI) as its partner for the project. Recently completed, the new state-of-the-art facility, which has been named The Queen’s Medical Center—West Oahu, opened on May 20, 2014.
The renovation project which was launched in April 2013, involved a complete overhaul of 139,000 square feet of the campus which consists of a five-story, 120,000 square foot hospital and a five-story, 90,000 square foot mixed use building connected to the hospital.
As part of the renovation, the hospital’s first and second floors were completely gutted to accommodate a totally redesigned 13-bed emergency department with expanded capacity and smart layout designed to meet projected needs for the community, as well as new lobby and registration areas, an imaging department with state-of-the-art x-ray rooms and MRI, CT scan and nuclear medicine capabilities, and medical records and administrative support spaces.
The existing imaging equipment was no longer current, “so instead of trying to use what was there, QHS decided it would be best for this growing community to start from scratch,” says MGI president, Dan Chisholm, Sr.
The second floor now houses a new operating suite with four operating rooms, preoperative and postoperative spaces and a 10-bed intensive care unit. Floors three and four contain the 70-bed hospital’s medical-surgical patient rooms. From a construction standpoint, these rooms remained essentially as they were, although they are dressed up with new finishes. The cores and nurses’ stations were completely updated.
The mixed-use building, renamed the Clinical Services Center, now contains a new laboratory, central sterile processing department, kitchen and dining facilities, and physician offices. The kitchen, previously located in the hospital, was moved to the CSC to free up space for the expanded ED.
This isn’t the first time QHS and MGI have worked together. In 2009, the healthcare consulting firm, based in Winter Park, Fla., helped design and oversee the construction and implementation of a 9 megawatt N+2 electrical on-site emergency power system for QMC that dealt creatively and effectively with some of the medical center’s unique space challenges. The success of that undertaking paved the way for this latest project.
“Complex renovations of existing healthcare facilities require professionals with extensive healthcare experience,” Chisholm notes. MGI’s 40-year background designing HVAC, electrical, plumbing, medical gas and fire protection systems for healthcare facilities fit the bill.
During construction, MGI personnel were on-site two weeks out of every three, serving as construction manager and design coordinator, working with the architects, engineers, contractor and other professionals, and supporting Queen’s on scheduling issues, budget questions and change order reviews, making sure the information the contractor needed from the architects was delivered in a timely manner and that the project moved forward as planned.
MGI was also brought on board to coordinate all of the low voltage telecommunications and information technology work, including structure cabling systems and installation of the nurse call and voice systems.
“MGI ensured that all of the various entities handling these different technologies coordinated their efforts,” explains Chisholm. “We didn’t want any duplication, and didn’t want to do work that would have to be removed later because another technology had come in.”
A big part of the project was the construction of a new data center for the hospital in the CSC. The data center itself was a turnkey project by IBM, “but as it would plug into our building, coordination with them was an important component,” he says. The data center is 755 SF with 23 data racks and two 60 KVA UPS for N+1 (A and B bus) operation. Cooling consists of four (4) 13-ton in-rack cooling units each with a remote condenser providing N+1 cooling. The system includes a pre-action fire protection system and a hot aisle containment system for HVAC. The center provides all of the Queens West Oahu Hospital data processing needs and backs up the Queens Main Campus Medical Center.
The project’s aggressive schedule was its number-one challenge, Chisholm notes. “QHS wanted the new hospital to open in spring of 2014, so the contractor had to employ double shifts. It was an accelerated process. We worked hard to keep that on track and to make sure requests for information were handled promptly as we went along.”
The group also worked diligently to find cost efficiencies and stay within budget. “When we started reviewing bids from subcontractors, we had to make some tough decisions to get the project at an acceptable level,” Chisholm says. MGI employed a systematic value engineering methodology to review the scope of the work and make sure the project would remain on target.
Throughout the project, the entire team pooled its collective expertise to identify cost efficiencies and modify the scope to keep costs in line. For example, Chisholm worked with the engineer on a new design to consolidate some of the air handling equipment. Originally, the engineer had utilized three separate air handling units to serve three different areas of the hospital. “After some study and help from the contractor, we found that we could consolidate those into one air handling unit at a significant savings,” he says.
Working in existing buildings with lack of high quality “as built” drawings presented additional challenges, he adds. “During demolition, we discovered unknowns that no one had documented. We had drawings, but they were not always accurate, so we had to adapt as we went along. For example we demolished a wall and discovered a pipe that served the building. There was no way to hide or protect it in the new design, so we had to develop a new chase for it,” he says.
The most impressive aspect of this project was the level of teamwork among all of the various professionals involved, Chisholm says. “The contractor was brought on fairly early to be part of the design assist and find the most cost-effective solutions. During construction the architect was also on site to help troubleshoot issues as they arose.” Additionally weekly OAC––Owner-Architect-Contractor––meetings helped the team nip problems in the bud and resolve issues in a timely manner. “That teamwork allowed us to meet the budget and schedule challenges head on,” he says.