As one of the largest healthcare networks in the state, New Jersey’s Atlantic Health System is constantly working to upgrade its facilities to provide the absolute best care to its communities. The Chilton Medical Center is not only one of AHS’s most significant projects, but also one of New Jersey’s first healthcare facilities to combine emergency and inpatient services in one specialized care center.
Complete with private inpatient rooms, sleeping accommodations for parents, a family lounge and kids playroom, Structure Tone’s New Jersey team helped AHS transform their existing emergency department and former cardiovascular services space into a new pediatric emergency and inpatient center. The new Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains was organized into two main phases: preparing the new space for the cardio unit to relocate, and building the Children’s Center. Gutting and renovating such an important space meant navigating a number of challenges, so in the six months leading up to construction, planning was really the name of the game.
Firstly, treatment couldn’t stop while the new center was under construction, so the team had to carefully work around the active emergency room. From floor-to-ceiling construction barriers to negative air pressure systems to keep construction dust from entering the hospital, the team took extra steps—and went through rigorous infection control inspections—to ensure patients and staff remained unaffected by the work.
Because the new center was an expansion to the existing hospital, the team had to work around MEP systems that were already in place. The planned phases of construction, however, did not necessarily match up with the most linear path to make those MEP connections. The team was essentially working backward, as the new MEP systems were almost always located in a space that hadn’t been demoed yet. It took a lot of upfront planning to identify the best route for the MEP tie-ins and ensure the plans for this phase wouldn’t become a problem in future phases
The location of the center’s inpatient rooms posed another unique challenge. According to healthcare occupancy codes, each inpatient room is required to have access to daylight. Because the center’s inpatient rooms are located in the middle of the building, the project team had to get creative. They adjusted the design to lift the roof enclosure at an angle to allow for skylights in each room. These skylights, however, interrupted the carefully planned MEP corridors. Again, the team had to meticulously plan so the new MEP infrastructure wouldn’t interfere with the future phase steel structure.
Following the initial six-month planning period, Structure Tone completed the 10,000sf project in 10 months. Before the Children’s Center was finished, AHS called on the Structure Tone team to take on 26 other projects throughout their facilities, including everything from lobby and treatment room renovations to telecommunications upgrades. The team responded accordingly by shifting resources and adding more staff in order help AHS continue to provide New Jersey with the best possible patient care.