On Tuesday, Carle Foundation Hospital celebrated the grand opening of Carle at the Fields, a new medical office building that will house more than 1,200 employees. Berglund Construction served as construction manager for the 281,000, three-story project that was built on a 200-acre greenfield site.
Located at the I-57 and Curtis Road interchange in Champaign, the Carle at the Fields development allowed the hospital to consolidate in one place various Carle and Health Alliance administrative and support functions. The building will consolidate employees from 10 different locations spread throughout the area.
During the preconstruction phase, the hospital established the goal of completing the project within an aggressive 18-month schedule without incurring substantial cost increases from its budget. The hospital initially specified a traditional brick veneer exterior wall construction. Preliminary cost and schedule exercises suggested that due to the size of the building, this type of construction could not be completed within the schedule without a substantial increase in costs.
Berglund set to work devising alternative strategies to meet the hospital's goals and developed an innovative solution: We proposed using brick inlay precast wall panels that could be fabricated ahead of time off-site. These 10-foot by 14-foot panels, then, were shipped to the project site and quickly set in place with a crane. This solution not only shaved five months off the schedule; it also saved money on the cost of the total project.
Further schedule efficiencies were found by establishing a lean sequence of work for steel erection, concrete and precast wall panel installation. Rather than wait for each trade to complete its installation, we sequenced the installers as close behind one another as possible to achieve a maximally efficient workflow.
Ultimately, these strategies allowed us to complete the project under budget while saving time on schedule.
Carle employees who moved into this building found plenty of first-class amenities awaiting them, including computer rooms for on-site training, eight lactation rooms for nursing moms, several multipurpose rooms, a gift shop that sells Carle apparel and work accessories and an in-house cafe called Betsy's Bistro by Hendrick House that serves locally-sourced foods and beverages.
The building marked the first of several planned developments on this undeveloped site for the hospital. Berglund's continued work here includes a new surgical center and two additional medical office buildings.
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