McCarthy Building Companies put technology to work to tackle two, complex, expansion/renovation projects for Illinois health-care institutions in 2017: Herrin Hospital in Herrin and the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon.
Herrin Hospital was originally constructed in 1914 and has undergone multiple expansions that left it landlocked, making a 21,369-square-foot vertical addition the only viable option for expanding the surgery center. The $23.6 million expansion involved the addition of a second-floor surgery center directly above an active Emergency Department and the primary entrance where patients and emergency vehicles accessed the facility every day.
Several times a month, Life Flight helicopters had to safely transport critically ill patients to the two-story structure’s rooftop helipad — just 15 feet from the construction site. The construction team had a matter of minutes to mobilize and prepare for these urgent — yet impossible-to-predict — scenarios, all while limiting noise and vibration, controlling odors from construction and maintaining emergency traffic flow.
Phase two of the project included renovations to the hospital’s existing operating rooms and phase three involves the renovation of existing waiting and support areas to create a same-day surgery center.
In Mattoon, McCarthy used Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to provide the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center with realistic 3D visual perspectives of spaces before they were constructed on this 70,000-square-foot expansion project.
“On the front end of a project, VR can help owners and end users gain a real-life, immersive perspective of what the completed space is going to look and feel like,” Brett Kostial, McCarthy’s Virtual Design and Construction manager said.
Augmented Reality takes that concept a step further by superimposing a computer-generated virtual model in a real-life environment so physicians, nurses and other staff can physically experience how spaces will function and provide valuable feedback.
Complementing these technologies, unmanned aerial vehicles — or drones — were also used to document the progress of site excavation work, safety and material tracking.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for construction,” Kostial said. “Technology continues to improve and new products and applications are being introduced every day.”