Located on Duke University’s Medical Center campus, the 500,000 square foot Duke Central Tower expands the pediatric and adult services of both Duke University Hospital and Duke Children’s Hospital.
This project, which is positioned where the School of Medicine and the hospital campus meet, unifies the two with a garden oasis used by patients, medical staff, students, and the community.
The extensive, six-year effort included 350 patient rooms, med-surg, ortho, ICU, neurology, solid organ and bone marrow transplant, two catheterization labs, procedure room, in-house pharmacy, administrative space, loading dock, and utility infrastructure.
Regarding project safety, Skanska used an in-house online platform called PlanIt, allowing team members to develop task-specific safety plans together for each phase of work. Together, the team created over 360 construction work plans throughout the project. With more than 450 workers onsite daily at the peak of construction, two million hours were completed with no lost time incidents. This resulted in earning a North Carolina Department of Labor Building Star – the largest project ever accepted into the program.
This project saw its fair share of challenges. Major redesign during preconstruction increased the project scope to maximize the building footprint, bringing the facility within three feet of relocated utilities, and making excavation and shoring installation significantly more complicated. The utilities served the entire campus -- interruptions would have been detrimental.
Construction was 75% complete when COVID-19 hit. In response, Duke Health requested turnover of the first three floors one year early while continuing construction of floors 4-11. These floors increased the number of emergency beds, avoided the need for temporary beds in tents, and gave the existing hospital more capacity for COVID-19 patients.
In early June 2021, Skanska turned over floors 6-11. As patients were shifted out of short-term care areas, Skanska teams deconstructed temporary measures, reconnected and retested systems and coordinated inspections with the city. In December 2021, patients moved back into the lower levels. A commitment to planning, communication and quality from the entire project team minimized risk and maximized project success.
A unique and lifesaving aspect of the Children’s Hospital included a room that’s specific to treating children with neuroblastoma cancer. Because the primary focus of redesigning this room was radiation protection, the team installed a lead-lining system. Due to the immense weight of the lead protection necessary, the structural steel had to be significantly strengthened by stiffening beams and added bracing. The room required lead laminated plywood on the walls and ceilings and lead sheeting to the elevated slab on the metal deck. Radiation protection was also provided for all incoming and outgoing pipes, ducts and conduits.
The project also included a new family observation area, allowing family to interact with their children who are undergoing the multi-day treatment.