Wurster Construction – Brownsburg Medical Center
Wurster Construction’s design feedback and cost tracking allowed Hendricks Regional Health to think bigger on its newest facility.
By Tim O’Connor
Construction firms that get involved early in the design of a project have the opportunity to help shape the final result. For Hendricks Regional Ambulatory Care in central Indiana, input from Wurster Construction was instrumental in reconceptualizing a planned outpatient medical center into a fully realized hospital.
Hendricks Regional Health, a healthcare organization that provides health services in Hendricks County west of Indianapolis, selected Wurster early in the planning process for what it expected to be an emergency and outpatient care center in Brownsburg, Ind. As the architecture firm, BSA LifeStructures, began to design the project, Wurster provided cost estimates, scheduling proposals and constructability reviews on the project.
“We think the owner benefits from being able to take input on the design but at the same time understanding the cost considerations of those decisions,” Wurster Vice President Kevin Turner says. “That’s where we were able to help and also with scheduling decisions.”
The project’s construction budget began at $26 million, but as Wurster provided cost estimates, Hendricks Regional Health realized it could afford to invest more into the facility to upgrade it into a hospital with six overnight beds. The change expanded the construction budget to $32 million and the overall project budget to $48 million.
In addition to the overnight beds, the 100,000-square-foot facility will house an emergency department and immediate care center, lab and radiology services and a cardiac rehab program. A comprehensive women’s center, physical rehab, physician offices, a pharmacy and retail space also will be in the new hospital. A helipad will allow the facility to more quickly transport patients to Hendricks Regional Health’s main hospital about 12 miles away in Danville, Ind.
Construction started in April 2016 and is on track for completion in November of this year. Turner says the project is about 70 percent complete and work has begun on interior finishes and setting up the radiology department and emergency rooms. “We’re nearly complete with the exterior and we’re working on the inside now,” he says. “We should be significantly complete by September.”
The hospital’s design is straightforward, Turner says. The build features masonry work and an ornate monument sign similar to those found at other Hendricks Regional Health facilities.
Once completed, the hospital will serve patients in the northern part of Brownsburg. Hendricks Regional Health operates an existing medical office building in the south part of town that also serves nearby Avon.
The hospital is being built at the northwest corner of Ronald Reagan Parkway and I-74 on farmland east of downtown Brownsburg. The location was made possible by the extension of Ronald Regan Parkway over I-74 a few years ago, part of a larger ongoing project to connect I-70 and Indianapolis International Airport to I-74. “The road extension was there so it made it very easy for the hospital when looking for land,” Turner explains.
The opening of the hospital is expected to coincide with the extension of Ronald Reagan Parkway from U.S. 136 to Country Road 300 North, according to Hendricks Regional Health. The northern portion of Ronald Reagan Parkway begins at Country Road 600 North, north of I-74, and currently terminates at U.S. 136.
The road may have made the project feasible, but it – along with an adjacent rail line – posed the biggest challenge for construction. To connect utilities and provide drainage for the hospital site, Wurster had to make a 20-inch diameter bore under the road and railroad to create access. Turner says that removal was done at the start of the project before it even began preparing the site.
Because I-74 is a federal highway, Wurster worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation to avoid traffic interruptions. “Boring under a state road and a railroad is not something we do on every project,” Turner adds.
Wurster’s existing relationship with Hendricks Regional Health helped it to secure the Brownsburg Medical Center project. Previously, the company built a medical office building on Hendricks’ main hospital campus in Danville in 2005 and oversaw a 205,664-square-foot addition to the main hospital in 2008. “We had significant experience working with the people in the hospital and they probably had some confidence in us as the construction managers,” Turner notes.
The mutual respect and rapport Wurster and Hendricks built during those past projects helped the process go smoothly. Hendricks President and CEO Kevin Speer, Vice President and CSO Gary Everling and Assistant Director of Engineering Troy Tucker were all actively involved in the design, planning and coordination of the project. “If you spend $50 million on that kind of project you want to make sure everyone gets along,” Turner says.
Technology plays an important role in facilitating those relationships and ensuring an efficient construction process. Wurster is using BIM to ensure accuracy, and the project managers and superintendents use iPads in the field to make information requests and take photos for quality checks. Procore project management software collects all that data and allows the client and subcontracts to access pictures, RFIs and schedules from a cloud-based platform. “As it’s being built we’re able to get real-time updates and adapt to changes,” Turner says.
Ultimately, the use of technology is designed to help the subcontractors on the project and keep the client informed of its progress. Just as the relationship between Wurster and Hendricks Regional Health was instrumental in Wurster being chosen for the project, the relationships between Wurster and its subs are critical to keeping construction on schedule.
The teamwork approach that has served as the backbone to the hospital project extended to the selection of subcontractors. Hendricks Regional Health had experience with several subcontractors that were invited to work on the hospital. In those cases where the client did not have a recommendation, Wurster bid out the work but involved Hendricks Regional Health in evaluating those proposals. “It wasn’t all about low bid,” Turner says.