An overview of AdventHealth’s Palm Coast Parkway construction site

In many ways, AdventHealth Palm Coast Parkway, as the 100-bed crescent-shaped hospital that rises in the heart of the city will be called, is a construction site like any other, just bigger: there is no larger construction site in the city or county. Almost every square inch of the 10-acre site is crawling with heavy equipment, pipes, rebar, slabs of all shapes, a giant red crane and one of 112 men and women wearing hard hats appearing and disappearing behind the bare reclining concrete. panels of what will be a 158,000 square foot, four-story structure when it opens in the spring of 2023.

In another way, it is the living metaphor of the permanent mission to come: a hospital is nothing if not a reconstruction zone for human bodies, with doctors and their specialized teams who will soon be spun rather than helmeted in the same spaces, repairing, digging, welding, cauterizing and hardening, using equipment that operates on the same principles as the heaviest construction site equipment, but on a more atomized and organic scale.

Since “Erection Day,” a felt-tip notice scribbled on one of the whiteboards in the general contractor’s conference room referred to what the Amish would call barn building – the days when the panels 60ft began to rise, transfiguring the site into an apparition – drivers on both sides of the Palm Coast Parkway saw a Colosseum-like structure take shape before their eyes, and may be wondering what it must look like there -inside. AdventHealth’s marketing team, seeing this long, dry period of splashy stories between grand opening and grand opening, must have thought now was a good time to give people a peek inside. Journalists were therefore invited today to take a guided tour accompanied and preceded by a safety briefing in accordance with OSHA regulations. As the assistant superintendent said, “We have semi-hazardous work going on.”

When AdventHealth first announced plans for the hospital in January 2021, it was for a $100 million project — $1 million per bed — with an expected opening in late 2022. Five months later , plans added a two-story medical office building to rise simultaneously, rather than the previous phased approach. When AdventHealth officials got together to choreograph and record what was to be a virtual revolution last September — while Covid was still rampaging — the cost of the project had risen to $145 million. Today, that cost is $164 million, according to AdventHealth Major Projects Program Director David Gordon, who was among those responsible for the tour.

“There have been challenges, but we are working on them,” Robins & Morton superintendent Casey Mabe said this morning. “Nothing that’s going to impact the opening of the project or anything like that. We’re handling it properly.

The reclining concrete panels, constructed on site of concrete, rebar and insulation, measure 9 inches at the bottom, 12 inches just above the first level. They are held in place by braces until an additional floor is in place. (© FlaglerLive)

Contractors across the country have seen construction costs soar due to a combination of strong demand – construction has been rapid – and tight supplies, due to supply chain issues. AdventHealth itself is currently developing 12 construction projects in Central Florida alone, said David Breen, AdventHealth’s external communications manager, including construction of a Winter Garden inpatient tower and a new emergency room in another institution.

AdventHealth Palm Coast Parkway — a name likely to confuse first responders and 911 dispatchers in a hurry, given its kinship with AdventHealth Palm Coast — will initially open with 80 beds, not 100, and will have its own emergency service. , imaging, five operating rooms, two endoscopy suits, with support services and the 30,000 square foot medical office building, with outpatient rehabilitation services, orthopedic services, etc. On opening day, there will be about 400 jobs, with an average salary of $67,000 a year, assuming Weimar-style inflation doesn’t affect that too much. At groundbreaking last year, AdventHealth officials said there would eventually be as many as 700 jobs on this campus alone. Combined with the more than 900 jobs at the current AventHealth Palm Coast, the company, already by far the largest private sector employer in Flagler County, could eventually overtake the Flagler County School District as the largest employer. period. The district has 1,800 employees.

palm coast walk
Before sinking the third floor. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s not just nursing that’s driving the new jobs, Gordon said. “We will have entry-level clinical non-clinical semi-professional opportunities,” he said.

The bowels of the construction site themselves aren’t remarkable overall, until you start to notice some unexpected details: for all the construction going on, it’s somehow remarkably clean, as the Interior bare concrete floor was regularly swept and buffed. All tilting concrete panels, 9 inches thick at ground level and 12 inches thick above, were poured and cured for weeks on site, as they will be again once the building is of the built medical office. (See how these walls are built and insulated here and here.) The hospital structure will withstand winds of up to 150 mph and be among the safest buildings in the county. says Mabe. If only 112 workers were on site today, construction employment will more than double over the next few weeks and months as activity ramps up with the pouring of the top floor and roof, interior construction is accelerating.

It’s all surprisingly efficient, as illustrated by Superintendent Mabe, pulling out his mini iPad-like device and going through all the designs and building plans he needs at any given time, in any given place. Previously, everything was drawn by hand, and each drawing had to be kept in a trailer or dragged around the site, consuming time and lending itself to misplacements or mistakes. No more. Everything is now in the hands of the superintendent and others. Each model is computerized in great detail and schematized according to a timeline: here’s what it looks like now, here’s what it looks like when finished. Every element is coordinated, from sanitary piping to electrical wiring to every other anatomy behind the walls.

The pipes mark the showers and sinks of two adjacent patient rooms.  (© FlaglerLive)
The pipes mark the showers and sinks of two adjacent patient rooms. (© FlaglerLive)

Shortly, all areas of the building will be labeled with QR codes which, as soon as they are scanned, will display “what is the room, how high is the ceiling, what utilities are in there, what changes have been done, pretty much anything about it if there’s been like a request for more room info, anyone can come here with this app,” Mabe said. old way, you have to go back to the office, ask the project manager, hey, I need that drawing. It’s amazing.” Then he describes the capabilities of 3D cameras.

This is why the contractor could set up offices away from the property, in the center of the Court of Rome, at a long walking distance from the building under construction. But technology has made those distances unnecessary, all of which helps to make construction more efficient and speed up construction. Bad weather can still interfere. Three rainy days per month are built into the construction schedule.

Once built, the hospital and patient rooms, all private and single occupancy, will not look much different from those at AdventHealth Palm Coast. While construction today stood on the third floor, a vast plaza of smooth concrete bordered by these exterior walls but not yet subdivided into rooms, the telltale signs of each room were delineated by their sleeved pipes in the floor – where the shower will be, where the toilet will be, room after room curving around the structure, and placement of the future nursing station near the middle.

The lower floors began to be subdivided, looking more like thickets of skeletal scaffolding and steel or aluminum frames. It still doesn’t look like a hospital, except in the ether. But it’s a matter of months. Before long, the hospital’s permanent role as a reconstruction zone will replace helmets with masks, hammers with scalpels, rebar with silk. After the bluster and the splashing and the ribbon cutting of pride and the mundane talk will follow hope and sorrow, pain, comfort, grief, relief, despair and joy and all the other heavy line equipment existential backgrounds. Only then could it be called a hospital.

palm coast walk
(© FlaglerLive)

Alice F. Ponder