For Clark/Kjos Architects’ recent Cath Lab Replacement project at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center in Auburn, Washington, the initial client goal was simple: replace old cardiac catheterization lab equipment with new in the same space. However, shortly through the design process, it became clear that there were several other client goals and factors that created design challenges:
- The client decided that the room needed an upgrade from its previous construction as a standard radiology room to one that met standards as a surgical environment, due to the increasingly complex procedures and higher levels of invasiveness. This required installation of a laminar flow air supply system in the ceiling.
- The new cardiac catheterization C-arm equipment was to be suspended from the ceiling on a mobile track system rather than floor-mounted.
- The new system would have three ceiling-mounted booms for surgical lights, medical gases, monitors and anesthesia and monitoring equipment to meet client goals for more room flexibility and higher surgical staff satisfaction.
- Medical gases, which had previously been accessed via a floor pedestal and wall outlets, would also be moved to one of the new booms for increased convenience and to reduce tripping hazards.
- Since the Cath Lab suite was located below an operating room suite, the equipment and boom support had to be designed so as not to transfer vibration or deflection into the floor structure above.
What had been a challenge at the beginning due to this project being located in a portion of the building where the vertical floor-to-floor height was only eleven-and-a-half feet (and lower in some locations due to beams supporting the floor above), became a seemingly impossible task with these added requirements. Dennis Beyer, the Project Architect for Clark/Kjos, quickly saw that the only viable solution was to use an operating room integrated ceiling system, and even that approach pushed feasibility to its extreme. Dennis contacted SLD Technologies, an operating room integrated ceiling system manufacturer, based on the recommendation of the mechanical contractor on the project.
Working closely with J R Abbott Construction and SLD Technologies, PCS Structural Solutions, Mazzetti Engineers for mechanical and Sazan Engineers for electrical, the team developed a precisely planned layout that provided a unified air plenum fed from one end (so as not to cross any beams), with the plenum modular sections fitting within the existing structure. The overhead rails for the cath lab C-arm are supported on the underside of the plenum, which was engineered to handle the moving loads. In this case, most of the new booms are supported outside the integrated ceiling system because of building structural constraints.
The installation was amazingly smooth and very efficient, and everything fit together extremely well despite the tight quarters. Now that the finished ceiling and diffusers are installed, most people would not be able to recognize that there is a highly-sophisticated ceiling above them, unless they happen to notice the clean and well-composed array of lighting, diffusers and closure panels.
Going forward, Clark/Kjos Architects would advocate an operating room integrated ceiling system for any highly complex applications in hospital construction due to the benefits to the client and to the design and construction team.