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$1 billion “Project Legacy” rises in tight quarters (Engineering News-Record)

March 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Articles and Features

ENR Project LegacyIt’s no easy task to construct more than a million sq ft of hospital facilities spread out over 12 city blocks. It’s even more difficult when that hospital has to be meticulously designed and constructed from the ground up to withstand high winds and storm surge from a major hurricane.

Now more than 60% complete, the new Veterans Affairs Hospital in New Orleans will be one of the most hurricane-resistant medical facilities in the nation. Built to withstand 129 mph winds and 19-ft floodwaters, the facility will be able to operate on its own for at least five days in the wake of a disaster.

The construction team says the project has been progressing well with few surprises, something the contractor, architect and client attribute to solid planning, preparation and consistent communication.

Tight urban environment

Dubbed “Project Legacy,” the $1-billion Veterans Affairs Hospital is currently one of the city’s largest construction projects. The medical center comprises eight buildings on a 30-acre site and will feature 1.6 million sq ft of multibuilding space with two 1,000-car parking garages. When complete, the campus will serve up to 500,000 patients a year with 120 medical and surgery beds, 40 rehab beds, 23 exam rooms and 400,000 sq ft of outpatient clinical space.

Doug Parris, a partner with New York City-based NBBJ and the lead designer for Project Legacy, says the years of planning included demolishing more than 76 houses on nearby residential blocks.

Parris says the facility was designed with end-users in mind. Designers interviewed more than 200 veterans and staff from the old hospital to determine how to construct the most patient-friendly facility. Everything from floor layouts and lighting to colors, building entrances and bathroom locations were designed and constructed to meet those recommendations.

“We put a lot of effort into the design, but the input from the veterans really helped us construct [facilities] that would serve their needs,” says Parris.

Read the full article by Craig Guillot in Engineering News-Record.

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