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Feature Story - May 2006
Healthcare Construction

Kino Public Health Center Finally Rises
A New $23 Million Facility For Tucson

by Alan M. Petrillo

TIt has taken years, but the Kino Public Health Center in Tucson is finally on its way to being completed.


The approximately $23 million project across the street from University Physicians Healthcare Hospital at Kino Campus on Ajo Way was originally started in 1999 when Durrant Architects of Tucson got the job to design the administrative health complex.

"We've been working on this for a long time," said Frank Slingerland, a Durrant partner.

"It was in our office more than three years and when we finished it was put on the shelf because the county couldn't fund it. It sat there for two years before it was bid out eight months ago."

The project is scheduled for completion on Nov. 22, 2006.

Durrant Architects was partnered with Lee Burkhart Liu of Marina del Rey, Calif., an architectural firm that specializes in hospital planning, to design the project.

"In reality there are few clinical-related components in the building," Slingerland said.

"It's more an administrative building than a hospital."

Slingerland characterized the structure as a giant rectangle about the size of a football field. A conference center is located in front of the building and connects to the main building through the lobby and by bridges on the second through fourth floors. The first level of the conference center has large rooms that can be divided or opened up to accommodate various types of public or private sessions.

All the sides of the building were treated differently, depending on their solar exposure, Slingerland said. The north side has large expanses of glass with nearly unobstructed views of the Santa Catalina Mountains because it receives no direct sunlight.

The east and west exposures have minimal glass openings, and the south side features deeply recessed windows with overhangs to control vertical sun penetration.

"There haven't been any surprises on the job yet," said Dave Phillips, project manager for Gilbane Building Co. of Phoenix, the construction manager on the job. "It's a pretty big structure at 185,000-sq.-ft. and will be used to consolidate all the Pima County Health Department offices spread around town."

Chuck Young, onsite project manager for Lloyd Construction Co. of Tucson, the general contractor, said the building carries a structural steel frame, with structural stud framing, and it's covered on the exterior by four separate finishes - EIFS, an aluminum window wall system, masonry veneer and exterior metal panels.

"The interior of the building is pretty straightforward, but it's the exterior where the architects put on all the flashing lights," Young added. "The exterior is the tricky part."

Young said his crews have just begun the exterior facade work, starting with the masonry, which is to be followed by the EIFS, the aluminum curtain wall and the metal panels. He said he expects the exterior to take about three months to finish.

Burt Wright, a project manager and principal at Kelley Wright & Associates of Tucson, the mechanical engineers on the project, called the plumbing system routine, with two major and one minor restroom facilities on each floor, stacked so they were easy to design into the building.

"We also put risers on each floor for water, waste and vents on various column locations to allow for future additions to the plumbing system," he said.

Kelley Wright also was responsible for the fire protection and standpipe systems. Its workers put in wet standpipes with sectional control valves on each floor that are tied into the fire protection system.

For the HVAC, Kelley Wright specified two 450-ton chillers, one with a variable- speed drive and the other with a standard drive to be used as a base-loaded machine, said Donovan Kelley, a principal in the firm.

Four variable air volume air handlers per floor help optimize the zoning.

There have been some minor problems during construction.

"We were faced with concrete shortages that didn't affect the building but which did affect some of the roadwork with the curbing," Young said. "We also had a steel delivery delay at the beginning of the job, and there were increases in the cost of all materials - asphalt, concrete, cement and glass. But I still feel good about making our target date to finish."

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