Wurzel Builders, based in Austin, Texas, has expertise in healthcare construction and that know-how shined through during a recent hospital project. Wurzel Builders knows that the process of building healthcare facilities is unique and comprehensive and it is proven by their success in the healthcare space, completing the construction of multiple unique niche hospitals. Healthcare construction projects are controlled by regulatory challenges and can be intricate, which Wurzel is very familiar with at this juncture.
A recent project completed by Wurzel Builders, which took place during harsh winter conditions and in the middle of the pandemic, was Family Hospital at Papillion in Nebraska. The facility is a locally-owned hospital bringing quality patient-focused care to this remote community. In addition, the mission of Papillion Hospital Partners, LLC is to provide a high level of patient-focused care including a full surgical suite powered by solar lighting, a gorgeous glass atrium with an exposed staircase and a glass handrail that invites the nature of Nebraska into the ambience of the hospital setting.
For the size of the building, the facility can efficiently provide quality medical care that parallels what a large hospital can. The 21,900-square-foot, two-story building features an inviting lobby, four patient rooms, a procedure room and two operating rooms. The operating suites are green with a unique lighting and air system for surgical solar panel lighting.
The intricacy of the aesthetics built into the project include the tower located on top of the facility – which has three very large hospital crosses made from colored glass, incorporating the traditional red and white medical coloring. Another component that is critical for the area and for continuous patient care, the building is backed up on a generator in case of a power outage. It’s 100% supported and the hospital can operate at its full potential on this generator. Other medical clinics of this size typically do not have this feature.
Wurzel was able to build this hospital on time and on budget despite several regional and worldwide events. The pandemic presented barriers with worker shortages and limited material availability while at the same time, the winter temperatures in Nebraska were recorded as one of the coldest in history with temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees. During these conditions, the team overcame challenges such as installing windows within a tower during 36 mile-per-hour winds.
The extreme weather conditions created numerous challenges during the project. The team built tents around the scaffold to help keep warmth stored inside. Standing heaters were located around the project to keep the crew safe and materials warm to avoid anything freezing. The crew also placed heat blankets on the floor to stop the ground from freezing, which would prevent them from digging and pouring concrete. Each day, they used snow plows and manually shovel sidewalks to ensure they could safely commute around the project. Additionally, the team was also navigating a time when riots were occurring within the community, therefore, there was a risk that this project could have been targeted, as other construction projects within the community were burnt down.
Throughout the project, the construction industry was experiencing many supply chain issues in conjunction with the local COVID-19 restrictions, therefore, the team had to find innovative ways to get their hands on materials to ensure they honored the original project timeline. For example, one of the electricians was visiting family in Wisconsin during the project, when the crew was having trouble sourcing breakers. The electrician who was traveling purchased breakers in Wisconsin and brought them back to the job site. This level of resourcing was implemented throughout the project and can represent many other scenarios the team experienced. Rather than waiting for its normal distributors to recover from the shortage delays, they found creative solutions.
At completion, the complex niche facility has a sophisticated, modern design that pairs local beauty with the complex functionality of a full-service hospital. Despite it being unlike any other medical care facility in the area, it’s been well received from the community and has provided local residents access to high-quality healthcare resources without visiting a traditionally large hospital. The final appearance and quality of the finished product has been highly acclaimed by not only the community but from those within the industry as well. Its positive curb appeal grabs the attention of anyone passing by, with the glass staircase prominent as an eye-catching feature.
Wurzel Builders was able to not only complete the project on time, but we actually turned it over 11 weeks prior to the ideal finish date. We look forward to working on future projects in the healthcare space that bring quality healthcare options to local communities.
About the author
Commercial builder and general contractor Barry Wurzel is a strategist with a passion for the big picture. He charts the course for his companies, Wurzel Builders, Ltd and Southern Cutting & Coring, LLC. He mentors and develops employees, and intentionally crafts the company culture. He’s known for his hands-on approach and open communication style in everything he does, and he’s innovative and brings proactive solutions to the table. Wurzel values moving forward over looking back but also brings 33 years of construction management experience to his work. Over the years, Wurzel has worked with numerous companies including Family Hospital, QT, Hilton, Marriott, Walmart and CVS Pharmacy with a focus in healthcare, hospitality, industrial, retail and fuel. Barry and his wife Robin live in Southwest Austin and enjoy traveling anywhere new and exploring the outdoors, especially with their three grown children. For more information, visit www.wurzelbuilders.com