Mortenson Construction Retrofits Chicago High-Rise To Accommodate State-of-the-Art CyberKnife Cancer Institute of Chicago

Sep 06, 2012, 11:34 ET from Mortenson Construction

CHICAGO, Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mortenson Construction has completed a state-of-the-art medical facility for Chicago CK Enterprises, LLC, with tenants that will include the Michigan Avenue Radiation Center and the CyberKnife Cancer Institute of Chicago, a program of Swedish Covenant Hospital. In building the 10,000 square foot facility, Mortenson solved some significant construction challenges presented by the facility's special equipment requirements and its location.

"Mortenson's extensive experience in healthcare construction, especially in urban settings, made a huge difference. From the start, Mortenson understood our needs and offered smart, cost-effective solutions for maximizing our space and building the best possible environment for our patients to receive state-of-the-art radiation therapy," says Kerwin Brandt, chief executive of Accelitech, LLC, a Chicago-based national developer of stereotactic radiosurgery and cancer treatment centers. Chicago CK Enterprises is a partnership that includes Accelitech, prominent Chicago radiation oncologists and Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Occupying the first two floors of 160 E. Illinois, a 26-story condominium building, the medical facility required installation of vaults that weigh 2.5 million pounds to contain radiation equipment. That weight requires a reinforced foundation, which would typically be handled by building caissons and setting a mat slab foundation on top of the caissons. But in this building, that approach would have been costly, time-consuming and still not allow for enough headroom.

Instead, Mortenson developed the innovative approach of inserting two foundations within the building's existing foundation. The construction team first cut a rectangle out of the current slab, then dug down five feet to the landfill upon which the building rests. The team then installed grade beams and laid a 12-inch mat slab on top, creating a foundation that "floats" on top of the first foundation.

Mortenson also broke new ground with the facility's mechanical system, which maximizes space while reducing long-term operating costs. A typical ducted variable frequency drive (VFD) system with a dedicated mechanical room would have taken space needed for treatment rooms and other areas, so Mortenson and its design partners developed a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system. This highly efficient technology is smaller, has lower operating costs and provides better control for occupants as each room is equipped with individual climate control units. The city of Chicago had not previously approved such a system, so Mortenson coordinated efforts to secure city approval.

Mortenson Construction's other recent downtown Chicago projects range from new buildings such as the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago to historic renovations, including Union Station's Great Hall and its attached eight-story office building.

"Our starting point always is to understand our clients' businesses and how they plan to use any building we are involved with," says Larry Arndt, Mortenson construction executive. "As with the facility for the CyberKnife Cancer Institute of Chicago and the Michigan Avenue Radiation Center, we draw on our experience building for a wide variety of industries and all types of construction projects to deliver the facility that suits our client's needs, budget and timetable."

Lois Padovani
Padovani Communications Inc.

SOURCE Mortenson Construction