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John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek Campus Tops Out New Patient Wing Ahead of Schedule - December 2, 2008


Project Designed by the RATCLIFF Architectural Firm Will Provide a 21st Century Healing Environment

Nine days ahead of schedule, the last beam of 3,800 tons of steel was placed atop the Thomas J. and Muriel T. Long Patient Care Tower at the John Muir Medical Center - Walnut Creek Campus. Representatives from the hospital joined architects from RATCLIFF and members from a multi-faceted construction team to celebrate the topping out ceremony of its new five-story, 380,000-square-foot patient wing under sunny skies on November 19th.

The steel skeleton of the new patient wing offers a preview of the RATCLIFF-designed healing environment to come:

  • The new hospital entry sequence will open into a two-story lobby which beckons visitors forward to a three-story central circular rotunda, filled with daylight from an open atrium and featuring bamboo and soothing water features.
  • Special attention will be given throughout all patient care areas to noise reduction, lighting, and the Institute of Medicine recommendations to create an environment that allows care to be provided in a safe, effective, patient-centered, efficient, and equitable manner.
  • Six rooftop healing gardens will provide needed respite for patients, visitors, and staff.
  • Celebrating John Muir Medical Center’s location in a beautiful and historical setting, the entire structure will be interwoven with public art by Gordon Heuther and others, as well as evocative finish materials and design motifs which recall nearby Mt. Diablo, the foothills and streams.

The structural steel building frame, designed by ARUP Structural Engineers, includes 160 buckling restrained braced frames to provide excellent and reliable seismic energy dissipation. The use of bolted connections at brace ends reduced steel erection time and allows for easy replacement of braces should they ever become damaged in an earthquake event. By locating the frames around the building perimeter, interior space is made available for the building program.

“We look forward to the addition of this 21st century hospital facility to complement the 21st century care our doctors and nurses provide,” said Michael Monaldo, Vice President Facilities Development for John Muir Health. “This building will withstand the major seismic events of our region and remain fully operational throughout, which is crucial to our role as the designated trauma center for Contra Costa and parts of Solano counties.”

Patient Care Tower Highlights
The Patient Care Tower at John Muir Medical Center - Walnut Creek Campus will house 242 beds, including 230 new private rooms, a 24-bed ICU and a 35-bed intensive care neonatal nursery. It will also house three new operating rooms accommodating innovations well into the future. In addition to the patient care tower, this hospital construction project includes a new 20,000-square-foot central utility plant and the expansion and relocation of the emergency department. The new ED will include four major trauma rooms and double the number of non-trauma emergency treatment stations (from 22 to 44) when construction is complete. The hospital’s helipad will be relocated to the tower rooftop and a high-speed elevator will be employed to transport patients from the roof to the ED. Circular design patterns in the ceiling and flooring evoke the grand circular rotunda at the center of the patient care tower and provide a sense of continuity for patients and visitors.

Clark Construction Company is the general contractor and Jtec Healthcare Construction Management serves as the construction manager for the John Muir Medical Center - Walnut Creek Campus project. The mechanical/electrical engineer is Mazzetti & Associates and the civil engineer is Kier & Wright. Pankow Special Projects, Oakland is the general contractor for the ED relocation and associated site work.
Headquartered in Emeryville, Calif., RATCLIFF provides architecture, interior design, and planning services to healthcare, higher education, and civic clients throughout the Western United States. The firm is recognized as one of Interior Design magazine’s Top 40 Healthcare Design Firms in the United States and is the winner of the AIA California Council 2005 Firm of the Year Award.

A part of the John Muir Health system, John Muir Medical Center – Walnut Creek Campus is a 324-bed acute care facility that is designated as the trauma center for Contra Costa County and part of Solano County. Areas of specialty include high- and low-risk obstetrics, orthopedics, neurosciences, digestive disorders, cardiac care, and cancer care. The hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a national surveyor of quality patient care, and was ranked among America’s Best Hospitals in 2008 by US News & World Report for endocrinology, digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, geriatric care and orthopedics.