Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A master planning project I started over a year ago has come back again, and it's back with a vengeance. I should first explain this client so I can finish the project: Gestalt HMO has several clinics in Denver and around Colorado, and DA does a lot of work for them. I'm working on a master planning project for one of their Denver campuses, which has two buildings on it: a low-rise medical office building (MOB) called Evans and a high rise MOB called Bierstadt. Gestalt tends to name its Colorado buildings after mountains. Cute.
So the master planning is really two parts. First of all, the master planning project that I was doing before is is still in place. We and the higher-ups of the Gestalt Colorado facility managers as well as the medical program higher-ups at the Evans/Bierstadt campus are all sitting down to figure out what departments need renovating and what to do with these departments while the renovation is going on. We're also having to figure out if there are any departments that should leave these clinics and if any should move into them. As we're working this stuff out, we're working with the contractor that Gestalt has selected for the remodeling projects (and with whom DA has worked many times before) to figure out the best way to sequence the construction. We can't do all the departments at one time, but doing only one at a time will take too long and cost too much in remobilization costs (i.e., the cost of bringing the same subcontractors back to the site over and over again).
The second part is that the Evans/Bierstadt campus is landlocked; no one around them wants to sell, and all that urban land is expensive. All the departments that are at that campus want to stay there, but the services are growing and the site can't handle any more building--there's no room to add on, and the buildings can't handle adding more floors (we've already added on as many as we can). So Gestalt wants to eventually replicate Evans MOB and Bierstadt MOB in another part of town, a little farther out. So they need to know how big that building will need to be. But in order for us to tell them how big it needs to be, I need to know more specifics about the new building: will you have the same number of doctors as you have now at Evans and Bierstadt? Will you literally have all the same service lines? Will you have more, less, or different services within those services lines? (For example, will you have all the same machines in the new radiology suite as you have in the old one, or will you add a PET CT, or will you have the same kinds of machines but different quantities, etc.?)
While all this is trying to be decided, the facility development and management people are trying to keep our contact with the departments to a minimum. Why? Because when lay people talk to architects about their spaces, even in the most generic of senses, they get excited and think that renovation is coming in the next year, and Gestalt doesn't want to get their hopes up. The more immediate renovations that we'll be doing will take two to three years to complete, and the duplicate version of Evans and Bierstadt could be ten years out. So because we can't really talk to anyone directly and get the info we need in one fell swoop, this master plan project is dragging on.
Not that I'm complaining. At least i have something to do.