Crews began transporting prefabricated bathrooms to the construction site of the new St. Mary's Health Center on Mission Drive two weeks ago and will continue the process over the next couple of months.
The bathrooms were assembled in a warehouse on Stadium Drive in Jefferson City and are being installed in 108 medical/surgical patient rooms.
"One of our guiding principles for the project is to push ourselves to be innovative and forward thinking," said Tony Houston, executive vice president and chief operating officer at SMHC.
Tim Gunn, construction project manager with Alberici, said this off-site assembly is reasonably innovative for his crews.
"There's really a big schedule advantage and a big quality advantage because we're in a manufacturing environment off-site," Gunn said. "We think that it's at worst case, cash neutral, but we'll know the financial outcome when we finish the entire process."
He said building the bathrooms in a warehouse gives construction crews the opportunity to set up an assembly line, providing efficiencies, high quality and a schedule advantage.
"It makes it very efficient," Gunn said. "Quality is very high with the repetitive work, and we consolidated into a warehouse where tools, equipment and material are closer than if it was spread through five stories of bed tower."
The 108 bathrooms are the only ones to be constructed off-site. They are for medical/surgical patient rooms.
"We have other rooms like our labor and delivery rooms, our ICU rooms and our behavioral health rooms," Houston said. "They'll have different-sized bathrooms and different-configuration bathrooms. Those bathrooms will be finished on-site."
Gunn said Alberici's goal is to have the building on Mission Drive enclosed by the end of the year.
"That would provide us with the amount of time we need to do the interior finish work with the building dry," he said.
Gunn said construction crews hope to start work on the Medical Office Building that will be located on the site in October.
The $200 million project continues to be on budget and ahead of schedule, with an opening date of early 2015, Houston said. SMHC administration hopes to take possession of the facility from Alberici in the summer of 2014.
"I encourage folks to drive up Mission Drive," Houston said. "They can go up to the roundabout and just do the turn, kind of get familiar with the exit ramp and on ramp. It's a great view, and there's plenty of wildlife up there."
While construction is gaining momentum on the new SMHC facility, Houston said Sansone Group of St. Louis is actively marketing the hospital's current site at 100 St. Mary's Medical Plaza.
"We've had decent interest, but obviously nothing I can comment on yet," Houston said.
The nearly 11-acre site is listed for $4.4 million on Sansone Group's website.
"We believe it's still a very nice piece of property, a great location," Houston said. "And, we believe it makes sense for either someone currently in the marketplace or someone new to the marketplace to come and take on where we've had 108 years of great success."