Hospital Thinks Fast on Construction Project

By Dan Hounsell
April 28, 2021

If the COVID-19 pandemic did nothing else for healthcare facilities managers, it forced them to hone their skills and think on the fly, whether the issue was revamping HVAC system operations or retrofitting restrooms with touchless fixtures. For some organizations, the resourcefulness had to include major construction projects.

When the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center set out on the design of its University Hospital Expansion project in November 2013, the plan called for expansion of its emergency department, surgical suite and a new six-story inpatient tower. But when the new inpatient tower was only months from completion, the pandemic hit, prompting UVA to rethink the project’s design and make some last-minute changes, according to Health Facilities Management

The hospital’s leadership met with its architectural team to discuss accelerating its open date and redesigning the tower to accommodate more airborne infection isolation rooms. 

One solution was to temporarily repurpose an existing smoke evacuation system to convert 12 intensive care unit rooms to feature a slightly negative flow. The ICU rooms, combined with three existing airborne infection isolation rooms, gave the hospital 15 isolation rooms in less than two weeks.

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