Design-Build Team Leaps Major Hurdles in Race to Complete World-Class Facility for Scripps Health
Teamwork and trust among key team members have proven to be two critical factors behind DPR’s success overcoming a variety of challenges on its first major design-build project in the San Diego area—the Scripps Health Radiation Therapy Center. For the DPR-led, design-build team that is building this world-class facility, which also represents Scripps’ first major use of the design-build delivery method, the project’s high degree of technical complexity, compressed schedule and location in an environmentally sensitive area have all added to the degree of difficulty.
Customer: Scripps Health is a private, nonprofit health system in San Diego that includes four acute-care hospitals on five campuses, more than 2,600 affiliated physicians, extensive outpatient care network, home health care and associated support services.
Project: Scripps Health Radiation Center
- The 45,420-sq.-ft. radiation oncology treatment center will feature some of the most advanced technologies of their kind in the world for treating cancer.
- Major trade partners provided input during the design phase, influencing the constructability of the design.
- Despite the many challenges on this unique and fast-paced project, the team is on track to meet a June 5, 2012, completion date.
Located in Torrey Pines, CA, the 45,420-sq.-ft. radiation oncology treatment center will feature some of the most advanced technologies of their kind in the world for treating cancer. The level 3, California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) facility will include a high dose rate (HDR) digital radiology suite, a 16-slice computed tomography (CT) simulator with 4-D imaging capability, and three linear accelerator vaults. According to DPR’s Elizabeth Barrie, the three linear accelerator vaults will feature Varian TrueBeam™ STx systems, three of only two-dozen in the world, which optimize both radiotherapy and radiosurgery treatments, offering the ability to treat cancerous tumors in the most critical and challenging areas of the human body.
“From the get-go the schedule was very challenging,” said Barrie, who is serving as project manager. “We had 16-and-a-half months to design and build the facility, which has to be open by next summer, and we knew we needed to collaborate with the design team as early as possible to meet project goals.”
For the request for proposal (RFP), two months prior to project award, DPR partnered with architect FreemanWhite and led the design team, as well as other key design-build subcontractors such as University Mechanical and Dynalectric. “We asked our major trade partners for their input during the design phase, so they were really able to influence and shape the constructability of the design. Even before we were awarded the job, everybody was working towards a common goal of meeting that critical deadline,” Barrie added.
The project’s location near a delicate coastal environment required a biologist, archeologist and paleontologist to monitor and avoid any negative impacts. In addition, a physicist was brought on board to help calculate the requirements for the design and construction of the three massive concrete vaults that house the highly specialized linear accelerators, around which the entire facility is centered. Hands-down the most technically challenging aspect of the project, the vault design and construction required the team to first create a large mock-up to weigh various factors and ultimately ensure the massive 8-ft.-thick walls and 6-ft.-thick ceilings of the vaults would cure properly. They monitored the critical concrete temperature and ambient air temperature via a computer that tracked some 20 sensors positioned on both interior and exterior rebar within the concrete mock-up for several weeks prior to executing the actual on-site pour. Additional measures, including adding ice to the mix at the batch plant to lower the concrete temperature at placement and insulating all of the formwork around the vaults, were taken to achieve optimal temperature as the concrete cured.
“This was the most technical concrete pour that I’ve ever been a part of in my 17 years with DPR,” Barrie said. DPR self-performed the concrete work under the expert supervision of DPR Concrete Foreman Kevin Cooley, whom Barrie credited for his “hours of detailed planning and sequencing, consideration of the project budget, being creative, and taking ownership of the whole process.”
In addition to the concrete pour, various other aspects of the project ratcheted up the degree of technical complexity, from the need to find the exact “isocenter” of each room to properly install all electrical and mechanical equipment around it, to the building’s unique design, which features virtually no straight lines. The project team employed BIM) to model the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems and for clash detection.
Despite the many challenges on this unique and fast-paced project, the team is on track to meet a June 5, 2012, completion date.