Louisville, Ky. – After 10 months of construction on the site of the Louisville VA Medical Center, area residents are starting to see the beginnings of the facility rise out of the ground. Much of this year has been spent on various earthwork preparations, but great strides have been made in several foundation-laying portions of the project over the last several months.
Along with work on the base of the main hospital, there has been noticeable progress to install stormwater and sanitary tanks on site and the drilled piers for the North Parking Garage.
Proper planning was key to getting the project to where it currently is – starting with foundations.
“There are many critical items to ensure we have proper foundations. It begins with ensuring proper layout. We have a surveyor dedicated to this task,” said Dennis Klass, Lead Construction Control Representative. “Once a hole is drilled for the deep foundation, it is thoroughly inspected to ensure the underlying bedrock is competent to support the load it was designed to hold.”
That foundation work has allowed the team to start on the basement walls, which are one of the most noticeable current features of work as more than 1,000 cubic yards of concrete has been placed with preparations being made to start installing the steel frame soon.
Not all the current work involves vertical construction, explained Carl Lindsay, Lead Quality Assurance Representative.
“Although there will be lots of excitement about construction that is going up, there is also a huge effort of work that is going down,” Lindsay said. “In the southwest corner of the site we will be installing the underground sanitary tank that will be some 40 feet into the ground. Many people will drive by on Interstate 264 and never realize that there are several people and whole pieces of equipment that they cannot see because they are so deep in the ground.”
“Although structural steel will be the biggest piece of construction that will be visible from anywhere passing by the sight, we can’t forget about the other work that will not be as visible. We are beginning to put the supporting utilities below the hospital that will allow the facility to work as designed,” added Klass. “Storm, sanitary, drainage, domestic water and fire suppression water will be soon followed by conduits for electric and telecommunication. It is important that these utilities are correct now because repairing them later will be costly and inefficient.”
Working on such a large project with so many details reinforce the importance of planning to ensure the job is done right.
“It is important to always be looking at the next phase of construction while we are working in our current phase. It is important to ask ourselves how the decisions we make today will affect the work we need to do tomorrow,” Klass said.
“You have to learn to think of what you can do to make sure that the work is done right the first time, that nothing goes wrong in the first place and that you continue to improve the processes,” added Lindsay.
Another key to the project’s success has been having the right people for the job, said Lindsay.
“The USACE team that we have assembled on the project works cohesively. It allows us to provide many answers to questions and concerns that the Joint Venture has quicker than the contract requires. It is a real privilege to be part of such an outstanding team,” he said.
The project includes the construction of a new 910,115 square foot medical center, parking structures, a 42,205 square foot central utility plant, roadways, sidewalks, and other site improvements.
The new 104-bed, full-service hospital located on Brownsboro Road in Louisville, Kentucky, will provide world-class healthcare for more than 45,000 Veterans in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2026.
To learn more about the project visit: www.va.gov/louisville-health-care/programs/new-robley-rex-va-medical-center