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Construction begins on $456 million cardiovascular institute and energy plant

SAN DIEGO — McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., has construction under way for the new 383,000-square-foot Scripps Cardiovascular Institute and adjacent 26,000-square-foot Central Energy Plant on the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla campus, located at 9888 Genesee Ave. in La Jolla, Calif. Construction completion is targeted for January 2015, with an anticipated tenant move-in date of April 2015.

Scripps Health retained McCarthy as the design-assist general contractor in early 2009 and, since then, the firm has been working on preconstruction for the new $456 million facility. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is serving as the construction management firm on behalf of Scripps Health. HOK Architects is the project architect.

The Scripps Cardiovascular Institute is the first of three new towers planned at the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla campus as part of its 25-year master plan, unveiled in November 2010. The new towers, which will eventually replace the existing hospital, will meet state earthquake safety mandates, while forming the most comprehensive medical campus in the region. The campus also will include research and graduate medical education facilities, an outpatient treatment center, and medical offices.

The brick and glass, steel-framed tower will encompass 10 levels, including a basement, intermediate mechanical level, and rooftop mechanical level. The building will accommodate 60 beds on two ICU levels, 108 beds on three medical surgery levels, six state-of-the-art operating rooms, four CATH/EP labs, one sterile processing department, and one imaging department. A tunnel will be built to connect the basement and ground levels to the existing hospital.

The building design, which incorporates numerous sustainable design principles, was developed with input from physicians, nurses, and clinical staff to ensure efficiencies that will foster exceptional care in a safe, comforting environment. Large expanses of windows will take advantage of natural light, and water- and energy-saving systems and devises will be incorporated wherever possible.

Situated 1,600 feet away, the new Central Energy Plant will be a cast-in-place concrete structure encompassing three levels, with two of the levels located below grade. The energy plant will provide air conditioning, heating, medical gas, steam, fuel storage, waste storage, and emergency generators for the hospital.

“The location of these projects, right at the Genesee off-ramp on I-5 and in the middle of a crowded hospital campus, will pose logistical issues in terms of material deliveries and general access by workers,” stated Steve Van Dyke, project director for McCarthy. “Another significant challenge the project team faces is the distance of the energy plant from the new tower. A utility corridor is being built to facilitate connection to the operating systems one-third-mile away.”

Van Dyke went on to explain that the exterior building skin system that utilizes brick and extensive curtain wall will be another important aspect of the project. A mockup was built and is currently being tested at Smith-Emery Laboratories in Los Angeles to ensure that the building materials and methods withstand specific weather conditions.

KPFF, Inc., is the structural and civil engineer, X-NTH is the mechanical engineer, and MWPA is the landscape architect.