From stark beams erected months ago, the hospital under construction in Nampa is taking shape with a comfortable resemblance to the St. Luke’s family of buildings. Thousands of iconic red bricks wrap around the three-story, 200,000-square-foot structure and towering windows frame the west-facing lobby.
Inside the 200,000-square-foot structure, crews are carefully checking the vital systems that form the heartbeat of the 87-bed community hospital.
Testing the air handlers, controls, mechanical and electrical systems can take months, said project manager Tim Austin.
“The sooner we get those running the longer we have to tweak them and make sure they are running properly,” Austin said.
Air handlers, boilers and generators are tested repeatedly.
“Hospitals are more complex than most projects because of the safety systems that can mean life or death,” Austin said. “There is a lot of energy put into making sure they perform all the time. It’s not like you go home and turn off the lights. They need to work all the time.”
Multiple power sources are required to guarantee that the systems are operational 24/7.
“Should the electrical utility lose power we have generators that kick on to provide power to critical outlets and systems,” said St. Luke’s architect Jeff Hull. “To enhance redundancy we have at least two different feeds into the building, so if one feed is interrupted the other serves the building.”
Austin has nearly 20 years of experience ensuring that St. Luke’s construction projects meet expectations. He recognizes the value of systems testing and contingency plans. Since joining St. Luke’s in 1998, he has worked on the second office building and hospital in Meridian, Wood River hospital, east tower annex in Boise, Magic Valley, Fruitland and the Children’s Pavilion.
Despite a hard winter and labor shortages, the Nampa hospital is on schedule for opening in October.
“We’re cruising along. We’ve got the bed towers mostly complete. We’re completing corridor finishes now,” Austin said. “Corridors and lobbies are the last areas to finish. We are working our way out through the main corridors and lobbies to avoid damage, because they have so much traffic.”
Austin says administrative offices, conference rooms, labor and delivery, pre and post areas will be complete soon. Lobby, operating rooms, cafeteria and coffee shop millwork, pharmacy and patient registration areas will be some of the last to complete.
The main lobby framing includes intricate finishes in the second floor ceiling. The open floor plan is by design, Austin said.
“When you come in the building you can see the second floor and where surgery is. It gives you a good sense about where you are. Additionally, main corridors are designed for you to be able to see the surroundings which helps with wayfinding,” he said.
On the second floor, operating rooms feature new modular ceilings with large duct work diffusers and mounts.
“We have not done these on a project before,” Austin said. “Modular systems are faster to install but a little bit more expensive. They are used a lot in clean rooms because of the speed to get clean rooms done. In the end you get a little bit more quality control.”
This summer, exterior finishes, brick, and roofing will be completed along with parking lots, landscaping and paving. He believes quality materials are worth the investment
“We have all the right players – consultants and contractors,” Austin said. “We all have a goal of creating value for the clients.
“We expect our buildings to perform forever, we don’t build cheaply. We try to be frugal but we understand the value of the asset is based on the money we put into it. We use good finishes and exteriors that are timeless and last forever. We think it is money well spent over the long haul.”
Amy Stahl formerly worked in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.