Grunau works on Medical College of Wisconsin

Grunau works on Medical College of Wisconsin
September 21, 2006 - Grunau is working on the Medical College of Wisconsin Children's Research Institute Biomedical Research Facility, located in Wauwatosa, WI. The sleek $94 million dollar building provides shared research space as well as two wings of laboratories, one for the health system's new Children's Research Institute and the other for the Medical College's Biomedical Research Building. The 310,000-square-foot facility includes wet bench space, office space and research support, a secure loading dock, conference rooms, cafeteria and telecommunications equipment space. Completion is scheduled for December 2006.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Max McGee National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes and Birth Defects Research Center will be relocated to the new building. The additional space is intended to support the Medical College's Cancer Center, Center for Bio preparedness and Infectious Disease, and Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering, as well as facilities for genetics research.

Grunau's part in the project is the installation of mechanical (HVAC and plumbing) systems. This portion of the project includes layers upon layers of ductwork and piping. The vivarium space, a holding area for live research animals, requires stainless steel piping for an animal water system, complex exhaust and decontamination systems, and finely tuned systems to control temperatures, humidity, and air changes — all of which are critical to the animals in the vivarium.

Lab construction is always complex, but in this case the vivarium has added significantly to the complexity of the MEP systems. "This job is taking layers and layers of ductwork and piping," said Ron Kwiatkowski, Vice President of design/build for Grunau. "It surpasses anything I have ever seen."

Fitting in the Crews with approximately 60 paired animal holding rooms and procedure rooms to build, and all the intricate systems to knit into the interstitial spaces, the physical requirements of getting crews into the various spaces when they needed to be there were also a large concern. "We broke down the job into pods of animal holding and procedure rooms," Kwiatkowski said. "A pod is maybe eight or 10 rooms and we need roughly 500 hours to do a pod of maybe 60 ft. by 60 ft. So how many people can you put in there?" The original plan was to put four people in each pod, but they had to work on lifts to get into the interstitial space. When it turned out that only three people would fit comfortably in the pods, it became clear that it would take four to five weeks to complete each pod. Kwiatkowski added that he is planning to keep the same personnel on all of the pod work, hoping to pick up some time once the learning curve is out of the way.

Parts of this release rely on extracts from "Biomedical Research Building / Coordination and Mock-Ups / Key in Lab Construction" by Elaine Schmidt, from Midwest Construction 2/2006.

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