Alternate Care Facility Helps Montana Prepare for COVID-19
In 2019, the mentor-protégé joint-venture (JV) between CDM Constructors Inc. and Ahtna Design-Build was selected for a 5-year multiple award task order contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Omaha District to provide rapid infrastructure design-build services in the event of disasters across the nation. The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, may not have been the disaster we expected, but nonetheless, the team was prepared to assist at moment’s notice.
In response to the pandemic, the state of Montana requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to task USACE with converting a vacant floor of Montana Children’s Hospital in Kalispell, Montana, into an alternate care facility (ACF). The project required collaboration and partnership with USACE, FEMA, the state of Montana, contractors and local tradesmen, and Kalispell Regional Healthcare. The facility will help Montana prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections, which could coincide with flu season and stress the hospital’s capacity and resources.
It’s something that, hopefully, we can marvel at and never use, but we know that if something comes up, we’re ready for it.
Upon the award notice on May 5, 2020, the Ahtna-CDM JV team had 24 hours to deploy to the site and only 21 days to complete the $2.6 million project. Within this tight turnaround, the team was responsible for assessment of the space, design of the build-out, and construction of 98 patient care rooms for non-acute care, seven nurse’s stations, four restrooms, three pharmacies and a medical supply storage room.
With our experts working on-site at an active children’s hospital, a robust health and safety plan enforced extra precautions in addition to federal regulations to keep everyone safe, including daily temperature checks, mask wearing and physical distancing. This commitment to protecting everyone’s health and safety resulted in zero team members testing positive for COVID-19 and zero recordable incidents over the project lifecycle.
The first three days of the assignment focused on the assessment of facility requirements for architectural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, HVAC and structural elements. The multi-discipline assessment team, led by CDM Smith vice president and senior project manager Jeff Pitchford, AIA, LEED AP (BD+C), DBIA, used Building Information Modeling technology (Autodesk BIM 360) to seamlessly share data in real-time between home office experts, the field assessment team and the construction management team. The office team populated the BIM 360 portal with existing drawings and critical standards ready and available for the assessment team to reference as soon as they arrived on-site. Inputting data from the building conditions evaluation into the BIM 360 application allowed for efficient and concurrent work, leading to accelerated and improved decision making for assessment of the existing systems, layout changes and necessary repairs.
This important project increased hospital capacity in record time to protect the health of our nation. We're proud to be highly responsive to help deliver on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ commitment to FEMA.
Following approval of the conceptual designs, CDM Smith worked with local team subcontractors to construct the temporary facilities. The construction team worked 12-hour days, 7 days per week and finished the build-out ahead of schedule, turning the facility over to the state two days early. The ACF, delivered under budget by more than 10 percent, is intended for temporary use, however, when it is no longer needed, patient pods will be stored at a state facility and can be reused in the future.
Through shared commitment, strong communication and great partnership, we finished construction ahead of schedule and under budget.
By utilizing the BIM 360 tool, we could collaborate in real-time between the office and field assessment and construction team.