healthcare_methodist_1The Center for Advanced Clinical Studies creates a center of excellence for the cancer and neuroscience programs at The Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus, Merriville, Indiana. This three-story hospital plus basement addition contains 96,000 square feet of space for both inpatient and outpatient departments. These include Medical and Radiation Oncology, Neuroscience, Electrodiagnostics, Sleep Lab, and Neurosurgery offices.

The project features two Linear Accelerator Vaults and a Gamma Knife Vault. These rooms incorporate an average of four-foot-thick cast-in-place reinforced concrete walls and ceilings for heavy radiation shielding. The hospital sought to “fast track” the Gamma Knife program prior to the completion of the rest of the project, to establish the second Gamma Knife installation in Indiana.

A concrete floor system was selected to allow matching floor elevations with the original building, which also used a concrete flat slab. The floor to floor height is 13 feet, 6 ¾ inches at the first floor, and 11 feet 9 ¾  inches on subsequent floors. The floor framing was easily integrated with the massive concrete placements for the equipment vaults.

Methodist Hospitals wanted to incorporate a ceiling heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with the latest in electrical and low voltage distribution, and getting adequate ceiling height was a real challenge. With spans up to 30 feet, a 10-inch thick flat slab with 4 inch drop panels was designed to maximize the ceiling plenum and allow up to nine-foot ceilings in some procedural areas on the first floor. Careful coordination between mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering systems was essential to ensure success.

Concrete columns 20-inches square support the flat slab and are designed to accommodate an additional floor of future vertical expansion. Concrete shear walls were chosen to resist seismic and wind loads while controlling drift and minimizing movement between the new and existing structures.

Another challenge was the original adjacent 26-foot deep basement for existing air handlers. The hospital wanted the new addition to match the occupied basement depth of 15 feet 6 inches below the first floor, but also to have services fed from the deep basement. The typical new spread footings were lowered along the existing deep basement to reduce lateral pressure along the existing deeper foundation wall. A concrete service tunnel was created for chilled water, medical gas, and sprinkler mains fed from the main complex.

Construction began in December, 2001, and concrete placements continued throughout the typical blustery Northwest Indiana winter. The general contractor self performed the concrete work, assuring schedule adherence. The Gamma Knife was operational by March, 2002. For the three vaults alone 1,480 cubic yards of concrete was used.


The Methodist Hospitals, Merriville, Indiana

Architect/Structural Engineer:
HLM Design, Chicago, Illinois, and Bethesda, Maryland

General Contractor:

Berglund Construction, Chicago, Illinois

Formwork Contractor:
CECO Concrete Construction, Channahon, Illinois

Concrete Supplier:
Smith Redimix, Cedar Lake, Indiana