Set for completion in the spring, Athens Medical Campus is on track for a 15-month faster delivery time than traditional construction.

Image courtesy of MODLOGIQ

The Ohio-based Memorial Health System didn’t set out to make its Athens Medical Campus in Athens, Ohio, one of the largest health care facilities in North America built using off-site modular construction. Yet, following a project rescope that expanded the plan for a free-standing emergency department into a four-story, 100,000-square-foot campus, the health system is doing just that with its first foray into modular construction. 

More than 200 modules arrived at the site in October 2023 for assembly of the 13-room emergency department, outpatient diagnostics department and physician offices.

Scott Cantley, CEO of Memorial Health System, explains that it was potential time savings that tipped the scales in favor of this delivery approach. Cost-wise, a proposal by architecture firm Trinity:NAC and Mark Molen Design for modular construction was similar to a traditional construction counterproposal, Cantley found. 

“Total cost was very similar, but time to market was wildly different,” he says. For a revenue-producing component like an emergency room, the 15-month faster delivery promised by a modular approach was a powerful advantage. 

“The key to these savings is performing site work in parallel sequence with off-site construction,” Cantley says. “We had extensive site work, but it was all happening while the building was being built.” In fact, he notes, on-site module assembly wound up waiting for site work to be completed. 

Joe Dattoli, vice president and general manager for module fabricator Modlogiq Inc., New Holland, Pa., says, “At the same time crews are disassembling completed modules at our plant in New Holland … drivers are navigating the 475-mile route to Athens where the modules are offloaded and staged for installation. And while all that’s happening, rigging crews at the Athens staging area are loading modules that arrived earlier in the process onto an installation shuttle lowboy for delivery to the site, where the modules are unwrapped, rigged and lifted by a 440-ton super-reach crane into place.” 

Cantley adds that Memorial’s first modular project, where “every building is a prototype,” has delivered a higher level of comfort in quality and compliance than is possible through traditional construction.

The new Athens Medical Campus is projected to open to patients this spring.