Vista Award winner for renovation Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Image courtesy of Turner Construction Company

Hospitals and health care centers represent crucial lifesaving and healing facilities that their surrounding communities depend on to remain fully operational, accommodating, responsive and innovative. But to meet those demands, these organizations require state-of-the-art buildings, reliable structures, finely tuned systems and accessible grounds designed for 21st century needs. Hence, they engage in ambitious construction, renovation and infrastructure projects, many of which prove to be exceedingly challenging and costly, requiring shrewd strategies, meticulous planning and commendable teamwork to reach the finish line.

Every innovative effort to modernize, improve and upgrade medical facilities is worthy of kudos. But the projects that best exemplify collaboration and notable accomplishments in the face of challenges are deserving of top honors in the field, as represented by the Vista Awards, presented by the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association. 

This year, three health care organizations stood out among the competition for exemplary accomplishments in health care construction, renovation and infrastructure projects, each made possible through praiseworthy planning, commendable teamwork and intuitive problem-solving.

The 2022 Vista Award recipients are Intermountain Healthcare for the replacement and expansion of its Utah Valley Hospital campus in Provo, Utah; Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the vertical expansion of its Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.; and Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Everett, Wash., for its switchboard replacement project.

Randy Regier, chair of the Vista Awards Task Force that picks the awardees, believes the results of each of these endeavors demonstrate the true value of teamwork around careful organizing, synergistic collaboration and forward thinking.

“For the Utah Valley Hospital project, which called for the building of a new patient bed tower and a new outpatient building tower, the task force really appreciated the comprehensive nature of the approach to the work by the overall team,” he says. 

“Their discussion around immersive design events to bring stakeholders together was impressive and clearly focused on team building and arriving at the right strategy for the institution,” Regier says. “The Utah Valley Hospital squad also worked carefully to reimagine the health care system’s business model, making them more integrated in their delivery of care, and that could be considered a project by itself.”

Equally remarkable was the work put into the expansion of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which was named this year’s best renovation. 

“This project touched virtually every floor of the existing hospital while expanding vertically, and we all know what a challenge just the renovation part of the work can be,” Regier says. “It’s tough to construct above an existing operating hospital, but then to also cut new elevators through nine levels of that existing hospital is hands-down an impressive achievement. The preplanning efforts discussed in the submittal clearly paid dividends in the outcome and overall success of the project, and it was clear this team prioritized patient experience and patient safety.”

Earning accolades in the infrastructure category, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett tackled a tricky replacement of an aging A-wing switchboard.

“The task force found this project to be quite complex and critical to patient safety, making the preplanning extremely important,” Regier says. “One of the key aspects was how the project team approached a 10-hour cutover that turned into 22 hours. Rather than simply declaring success, the team conducted a debrief to troubleshoot why 10 turned to 22 and what could be done differently. They concluded that, by rethinking what they were doing and providing a temporary permanent power connection, they didn’t have to complete the work in a shortened period while on generator power, enabling the team to make the cutovers at a slower pace and over a few days. 

“To debrief and make a change like that requires a team that works well together and is truly focused on the project rather than on their own interests,” Regier sums up. 

Vista Awards Task Force

  • Randy Regier (chair), AIA, ACHA, vice president of health care for Jacobs, Irvine, Calif.
  • Jason Piper, administrative director of planning, design and construction for AdventHealth Mid-America Region, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Randy Keiser, vice president of Turner Construction Company, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Mark Chrisman, PE, health sector executive and principal at Henderson Engineers Inc., Lenexa, Kan.
  • Ravi Raman, PE, president of RAM-TECH Engineers PC, Syracuse, N.Y.