healthcare_rioRio Grande Regional Hospital, in McAllen, Texas, is a multi-phase addition and renovation project encompassing approximately 136,000 square feet of new space and over 85,000 square feet of renovation space. The hospital addition offers sorely needed capacity to one of the fastest growing communities in the country. Phase I project construction, a $38 million building, began in early 2002 and is slated for completion in the summer of 2004.

This addition, a five-story concrete frame with masonry skin with capacity for one future level, is adjacent to the original three-story hospital building. The addition includes administrative and admitting space, 32 ICU rooms, 14 labor and delivery rooms, nine antepartum rooms, and 72 patient rooms.

The project has a wing-shaped curving plan and a very aggressive construction schedule. The three-hour fire rating requirement, vibration sensitivity of the operating rooms, and other construction requirements all pointed to cast-in-place concrete as the most feasible structural material. The concrete floors were designed with conventional reinforcing using the wide module joist system, commonly known as a “skip-joist” system. The flexural capacity of the floor slab is more fully used with the wide modules than in a conventional one-way joist system.

healthcare_riograndeTypical building bays are approximately 30-feet long and range between 18- to 30-feet in the short direction. The joists typically span the long direction. Wide metal pans 20-inches deep and 66-inches wide were used to form the concrete joist-and-beam floor system. Concrete joists are six inches wide, spaced six-feet center-to-center, and beams are typically pan-depth and 24- to 36-inches in width. Three-hour fire resistance dictated a six-inch thick slab.

Moment-resisting concrete beam and column frames provide lateral strength for the structure without the need for shear walls. Concrete of 4,500 psi was specified for the building frame, except for the columns at the lowest level where 6,000 psi was specified to resist higher loads without changing the column size.

Use of a concrete building structure facilitated the construction schedule and early occupancy. It also supported the unique architectural shape and vibration-controlled environment at minimal additional cost to the owner.


HCA, Nashville, Tennessee

Perkins & Will | CRA Dallas, Texas

Structural Engineer:
L.A. Fuess Partners, Dallas, Texas

General Contractor:

R.J. Griffin & Company Atlanta, Georgia

Concrete Contractor:
Spaw Glass, Austin, Texas

Formwork Contractor:
Ceco Concrete Construction, Channahon, Illinois

Concrete Supplier:
Central Ready Mix