Surgery 2 Expansion at Maine Medical Center — Perkins+Will
Maine Medical Center (MMC) is the largest hospital in northern New England with more than 28,000 inpatient visits, 500,000 outpatient visits and 27,000 surgeries performed annually.
Located in Portland, Maine, the hospital performs about one-third of all inpatient surgeries in the state, putting pressure on the hospital’s facilities to meet the needs of its patients. With an operating room utilization rate significantly higher than the recommended industry standard of 80 percent, MMC launched an expansion effort in 2013 to address the facility’s shortcomings.
Completed in late 2015, the Surgery 2 expansion includes a new $40 million, two-story operating wing encompassing 41,000 square feet with five new operating rooms and 20 pre- and post-surgery recovery bays. Designed by global architecture firm Perkins+Will and built by Boston-based Suffolk Construction, the facility was completed on time and on budget, adding crucial space to help meet the state’s health care needs.
“We are proud to have created a design and process that allowed MMC to minimize disruption and maximize surgical capacity in a relatively tight space and time frame,” says Jeffery Keilman, senior associate at Perkins+Will. “And the finished product looks great, providing some subtle modern flair.”
A new take on operating rooms
Built amid a delicate medical environment, the Surgery 2 expansion was a feat of construction planning and engineering. “We expanded onto roof space above the existing intensive care unit inpatient beds and adjacent to functioning operating rooms, so we had to keep those areas operational while we built the new building,” says Keilman. “It was no small feat from the design and construction side.”
Perched atop the existing hospital building, the new facility includes a number of unique features. While surgical rooms are often pictured as subterranean affairs, the location of the Surgery 2 expansion gave Perkins+Will the chance to experiment with introducing natural light into the usually antiseptic surgical setting.
“We had the opportunity to look inside and outside and get great views, which is important for patients and family members because it can help ease anxiety,” says Keilman. “Giving the staff doing the delicate work the right space gives them a little respite, including views and natural light as well.”
Working in a functioning health care facility presented a number of challenges for both Perkins+Will and Suffolk Construction. Building out all the services needed in a state-of-the-art medical facility requires a high level of coordination between all parties involved, from the construction manager to the myriad subcontractors called in on such a project.
“When you’re working on a complex system like operating rooms, it’s a challenge. There are a lot of trades that are important and these are some of the most complicated projects to work on,” says Keilman. “But the biggest challenge was, ‘how do we design and build a new building on top of an existing ICU?’. The original building was designed to be added onto in the future, but there are still a lot of challenges as to how to work through that.”
Central to the challenge was the fact that the new facility would require ample mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) support installed above the medical facility to ensure proper airflow. Perkins+Will opted to use a curtainwall system in the new facility as a means of improving not only functionality, but also increasing ease of installation and reducing building weight for seismic criteria.
“A huge amount of infrastructure and air exchange systems are needed to operate this facility. The second level mechanical penthouse was a large portion of the construction cost,” Keilman says.
Success through collaborative approaches
The facility’s new operating rooms feature state-of-the-art medical technology, including high-definition medical video technology for minimally invasive surgical procedures, teleconferencing tools, energy-efficient environmental controls and LED lighting systems.
While the Surgery 2 expansion did not set out to achieve any specific sustainability goals, the design team made a concerted effort to maximize efficiency in every aspect of the project, like keeping all visible glass under 40 percent.
“The building itself is just hyper efficient as far as how the systems and building work. We tried for the lowest energy use and worked to improve the envelope,” says Keilman.
As a global architecture, interiors and design firm, Perkins+Will completes projects for clients in fields as diverse as health care and higher education, in addition to corporate interiors, civic institutional work and large-scale residential projects.
“Our office has expertise in many project types and excels in that space between traditional project-type silos,” says Keilman. “For example, in health care there is the idea of wellness, emphasizing cultures of health and how those help beyond your traditional operating suite or inpatient bed floor.”
Perkins+Will designed many aspects of the expansion’s interior, but called in a number of trusted consultants to flesh out additional design elements.
“The lighting design was a blend between us, lighting designer Lam Partners and AKF on the engineering side. All three of us have to work in concert to make sure it performs, and it always helps to have good checks and balances,” says Keilman.
With five new cutting-edge operating rooms and 20 new pre/post-surgery recovery bays, the Surgery 2 expansion at MMC will help the hospital retain its reputation as one of the leading health care facilities in northern New England.
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