The new 225,000 SF stand-alone building, which replaced over 250 beds in the existing 50-year-old building, now has the capacity for 314 patients and will house the surgical, mental health and medical wards. Patients will now receive services for spinal cord injury, intensive care, cardiac care, rehabilitation and transitional nursing home care. The project also included renovation of portions of the basement, first and second floors of the existing medical building and the construction of connecting corridors to the new building. A section of the existing building was renovated to become an Outpatient Spinal Cord Injury Clinic.
In addition to being in an area prone to hurricanes, the building sits in an area of high seismic activity similar to that in Sacramento, CA. The facility is capable of independent operation, having its own emergency generators (remotely located), air-conditioning system, chilled water system and other systems located in a roof-top penthouse. The VA also specified antiterrorism requirements for the facility, therefore the design incorporates a reinforced concrete shearwall shell that both meets the high seismic requirements and provides blast protection and progressive collapse. All support systems were designed to withstand Category 4 hurricanes, with winds of up to 145 mph and flooding, and the building features laminated windows, which resist impact, and a built-up roof. The project also included construction of the hospital’s own cistern for fire protection. Because of its proximity to a major, six-lane highway artery—PR Route 21— the building was designed with security/force protection, including protection of windows, doors, air intakes, and other openings in the exterior as well as protection of critical building service equipment, monitoring, and security keying systems. For the duration of the construction period, the team added acceleration and deceleration lanes from the highway to limit construction traffic through the VA site, minimize impact on parking spaces, and create a safer work environment.
San Juan, Puerto Rico