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Atlanta Healthcare Construction Project Lays Groundwork for Improved Patient Care, Convenience

Local contractor to be honored at international CONEXPO-CON/AGG equipment trade exposition for making a significant difference in community’s quality of life

By Mike Porcaro

Emory Healthcare of Atlanta, Ga. is one of the nation’s premier healthcare providers, and a renovation and expansion construction project at its Clifton Campus, which includes its flagship hospital, will improve the quality of life for patients and all who use its facilities and services.

The clinical arm of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Science Center of Emory University, Emory Healthcare is the largest and most extensive healthcare system in the state of Georgia.

The $46.6 million project at its Clifton Campus includes building a nine-story clinical tower, much needed as the hospital operating rooms are often at capacity. The project will expand operating capacity between 5 to 10 percent. The new tower will include 210 inpatient beds, additional ICU rooms, diagnostic and treatment spaces and general medical/surgical rooms, along with relocated beds from the current hospital building.

A new parking deck with pedestrian bridge plus better access in and around buildings will also improve quality of life for those using the facility.

A primary contractor is A.L. Grading Contractors, located in Sugar Hill, Ga. Since 1935 the company has managed a broad range of site and infrastructure improvement projects.

Close Proximity to Hospital, Project Depth Added Excavation Challenges

Some of its most extensive work on the Emory project was the excavation prep work needed to build a four-level parking deck to accommodate 400 to 600 parking spaces. A.L. Grading had to dig to a depth of 55 to 60 feet during excavation, removing more than 20,000 truckloads of dirt – 100 to 300 loads a day - and more than 65,000 tons of rock.

Joshua Tighe, senior project manager for A.L. Grading Contractors, said that working in such close proximity to a hospital required great care. “We were very sensitive to not disrupt the facility,” he said.

“We’ve worked on projects removing as much as one million cubic yards of dirt,” Tighe said. “While this project involved removing only about 175,000 cubic yards, the major challenge was excavating so close to the busy healthcare facility.”

“It’s what we call a ‘tight site,’” he said. Under such circumstances, logistics are important. Haul routes were pre-planned to calculate and navigate precision turns made by the trucks.

A formidable challenge came when A.L. Grading needed to remove 20,000 yards of hard rock located very close to the hospital building. The task required blasting. Tighe says his team planned the work around times when surgeries in the hospital were not being performed, assuring none of the medical equipment, such as lasers, would be disturbed by blasting or other work.

Summing up the project, Tighe says: “It’s fairly unique because of the location—a hospital campus, and because of the depth of the excavation.”

Improvements Include a More User-friendly Environment

The parking garage plus other site improvements will make the facility more user friendly.

Better access in and around buildings will be achieved by reconfiguring the entrance. A widening of valet lanes will reduce wait times from as high as 20 minutes to about seven minutes. A raised concourse via a two-level pedestrian bridge from the parking deck is also a major part of the expansion.

The improvements will also ease traffic congestion and make the facility better able to handle the expected higher user volume upon the project’s completion.

The opening of the new building is expected the first quarter of 2017.

Emory has been at the forefront of medicine since 1905. These new improvements, according to Emory, will help the facility be more inviting to patients and other users.

For contributions to our quality of life, A.L. Grading Contractors will be recognized at North America’s largest construction equipment trade show, CONEXPO-CON/AGG. A company representative and one guest will receive a free trip to the show in Las Vegas in March 2014.

At CONEXPO-CON/AGG, they will see all the innovative new equipment that will continue to support their work for better living brought to you by the men and women of the construction industries.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the international gathering place in North America for the construction industries. The event features exhibits of the latest technologies and innovations in equipment, products and services plus extensive industry-targeted education. The next CONEXPO-CON/AGG is March 4-8, 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, USA. More than 100,000 attendees are expected. For more information about CONEXPO-CON/AGG, visit www.conexpoconagg.com.

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