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Erection of the steel frame and exterior walls of the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center has reached the fifth floor.
“We’re more than half-way up,” said Michael Willette, senior manager for Berry Construction. “And the building will be closed and weather-tight by the end of December.”
One year after beginning site work, hundreds of construction workers have moved Francis Street and all the utilities underneath it and put them back. Crews removed 100,000 cubic feet of earth and constructed three building levels below street level and five above. During that same time, the Shapiro Center Steering Committee and several other groups have been planning all aspects of patient and staff life in the Shapiro Center.
“We have groups reviewing and analyzing everything from patient and family travel routes to wireless computer access,” said Janet Razulis, administrative director, Patient Care Services, who coordinates an inpatient design committee for the Shapiro project.
“It’s exciting to think how the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center will allow BWH to continue to provide the highest level of care while promoting the discovery of new treatments and accelerating the translation of research into proven clinical practice,” said Mary Lou Moore, MSN, RN, CCRN, nurse manager for the cardiac units on Tower 12.
One challenge during this massive project is the three years between the initial design and the opening of the 350,000-square-foot building in 2008. “There is continuous planning to make sure we can absorb the latest medical technology advances that we may not even know about yet,” Willette said.
That challenge comes on top of trying to erect a 10-story building—13 if you count three lower levels for ORs, Interventional Cardiology, Diagnostic Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and support departments—in a dense urban neighborhood across the street from the hospital’s high-traffic entrance. And the base of the building takes up almost all of the 70 Francis St. lot.
“It’s always complicated when the building takes up the entire site,” Willette said.
Willette and Chuck Labins, senior project manager for Partners and BWH Real Estate and Facilities, said early construction successes would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of patients, hospital employees and neighborhood residents.
“There has been and continues to be tremendous cooperation on the part of the neighborhood and everyone in the hospital,” Labins said.
To hospital and neighborhood observers, the pace of construction in the next few months will seem very quick. The first five floors above street level will be closed up in September, and the steel frame for the remaining floors will go up soon after. The upper floors will be closed up with exterior skin in November and December, Willette said.
“Everything is on schedule,” he said.
The planning committees are sticking to a tight schedule, too, as decisions will be made in coming months on everything from the look and feel of way-finding signs to delivery of food for patients.
Successful features or programs in place in other parts of BWH will be duplicated in the Shapiro Center. For example, the family presence provisions that were so well received in the Connors Center will be implemented in Shapiro patient rooms. In addition, a family center similar to the popular Bretholtz Family Center will be in Shapiro. Plans are in place to solicit input from patients, families and staff on furniture for the family center, public spaces and patient rooms.
Similar processes to gain staff input are expected this fall, said Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN, chief nursing office and senior vice president of Patient Care Services. “We will solicit feedback from staff and convene several multi-disciplinary teams of clinical staff to help us design the model of patient- and family-centered care that we will implement in the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center and throughout the entire institution,” Hickey said.