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Proper planning key to project’s success

The 12-story west bed tower at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa might as well have been built in the middle of downtown Milwaukee.

The challenges its congested Wauwatosa site brought were akin to working in the heart of a city, said Mike Radtke, senior project manager for The Boldt Co., Appleton, the project’s construction manager. Not only was the tower built next to Children’s existing hospital building, it was close to Froedtert Hospital.

“We really had to plan ahead to minimalize the impact of what we were doing,” he said. “We were always conscious of noise, vibrations and everything else going on.”

The $155 million, 425,000-square-foot expansion includes a new main entrance, lobby, an expanded heart center and 168 patient beds.

The carefully orchestrated construction plan involved moving the main road to Children’s Hospital’s entrance not once but twice, Radtke said.

“It was a very busy road,” he said. “We had a lot of deliveries come through on that road to the site, but we also had to make sure the hospital was still accessible.”

The site’s heavy traffic also played into the work of low voltage systems subcontractor Faith Technologies Inc., Menasha, said Rob Goergen, project manager.

“Especially when we were connecting the new part to the older part,” he said, “we had to make sure what we were doing wasn’t affecting the work they needed to be getting done at the hospital.”

Another major site challenge was presented, Radtke said, when contractors realized they only had a 12-week window to get a complex utility project done. Moving the underground utilities, which included the chilled water supply and return mains serving both hospitals, was tricky because the system ran the air conditioning at both facilities, he said.

“If we had failed to hit that timetable, we would have affected the existing buildings,” Radtke said. “That’s something you always have to keep in mind when working on a congested site like this — how is what you’re doing going to affect the neighbors?”

The project took on an added complication when Froedtert Hospital began its own construction project, he said.

“We had two tower cranes up there (one on Children’s and one on Froedtert),” Radtke said. “We had radio communication going back and forth between the cranes to make sure we were all working together.”

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – West Bed Tower

Location: Wauwatosa

Submitting companies: The Boldt Co., Appleton; Faith Technologies Inc., Menasha

Construction Manager: The Boldt Co.

Architects: Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott Inc., Boston; Zimmerman Architectural Studios Inc., Milwaukee

Engineer: Ring & DuChateau Inc., Milwaukee

Owner: Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Inc., Milwaukee

Project size: 425,000 square feet

Project cost: $155 million

Start date: May 2006

Completion date: March 2009

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