healthcare_srwcThe Southern Regional Women’s Center project is the first of its kind, comprising 100,000 square feet in three stories of health delivery systems to women and newborns in the Riverdale, Georgia, and south Atlanta, Georgia, area. Tied into the existing hospital, the concrete structure has a brick facade and an ornamental entrance canopy cantilevered 30 feet from concrete columns. The interior is upscale with high-grade mill work and rich finishes. An open, two-level atrium with a circular grand staircase serves as the interior focal point.

The $15 million Women’s Life Center features eight antepartum rooms, 10 labor and delivery rooms, 32 post-partum rooms, four triage rooms, 10 gynecologist beds, and a 12-bed neonatal intensive care unit nursery. As patient volume increased steadily, the owner required the new project to be in operation as quickly as possible. Construction started January 2000 and the center opened, appropriately, on Mother’s Day, 2001.

The project architect set stringent floor depth limits in order to maximize the ceiling cavity available in the floor-to-floor design height of 14 feet. A “skip joist” and beam system with conventional reinforcing was selected to span the 35-by-35-foot typical bays. In order to maintain a constant elevation for the floor bottom, the supporting beams were post tensioned to match the joist depth and were 24- or 36-inches wide.

Unlike the steel framing alternate considered for this project, the concrete floor system provided a constant bottom of floor surface to facilitate routing and installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) utilities. It also eliminated the need for spray-applied or drywall fireproofing, which would have slowed down construction, added cost, and made future changes in piping and conduit more difficult. Actually, the project team cooperated to locate and form the required number of sleeved openings and penetrations in the concrete floor. And in some instances, spare sleeves and penetrations were formed and capped in anticipation of future piping and utility needs. The upfront coordination paid off given the extensive nature of the MEP systems required to support over 40 upscale patient rooms.

Auger-cast piles 14 inches in diameter were used due to poor soil conditions at the project site. Typical 18-inch square columns were cast monolithically with the infill concrete walls in the terrace level underground and extended the full height of the building. Concrete shear walls forming the stair and elevator shafts were designed to carry lateral wind loads. The 12-inch thick wall elements and the building frame called for 4,000 psi normal weight concrete, while the floor system utilized 5,000-psi lightweight concrete to minimize the number of piles.

This hospital aimed to provide a feeling of rich southern comfort and hospitality and is delivering it with an attractive concrete building. Pre-construction studies by the contractor concluded that concrete was the economical option from a cost and schedule standpoint. With the shallow floor depth, no fireproofing, and a constant depth MEP ceiling cavity, concrete was clearly the way to go.


CDH Partners, Marietta, Georgia

Structural Engineer:
Pruitt Eberly Stone Atlanta, Georgia

General Contractor:

R. J. Griffin & Company, Atlanta, Georgia

Concrete Contractor:
Harcon, Inc., Alpharetta, Georgia

Concrete Supplier: