Saturday, August 25, 2012

Introducing the cast of St. Ermagerd

St. Ermagerd is about to own my life for the next 12-18 months. This isn't unusual--a decent-sized project can last 6-12 months for planning and another 12-18 months for construction. As the lead healthcare planner on the project, my involvement is heaviest during design, starting to taper off during CDs (construction documents, when we're making the drawings they give the contractor to build the building) and tapering way off once bidding and construction begins. I'll occasionally answer questions during that time, but by then I'm supposedly off designing another project. Or that's the plan, anyway.

St. Ermagerd is about 100,000 sf of hospital and about 70,000 sf of medical office building (MOB). Clearly, I'm not doing this all by myself. The project is a Bosley project--he's the partner in charge, and Howie is involved as another partnerish project manager architect person. (We'll see how well that works out-- the combination of Bosley and Howie on a project can be incredibly annoying with so many would-be chefs in the kitchen.) The rest of the St. Ermagerd project team is thus:

Chloe, the project manager: she's responsible for making sure everyone has what they need to get the building designed and detailed. She's doing code studies, talking to the Bieffee MT building department, checking in with and setting up meetings with the engineers, and so on.

Pixie, c'est moi, the healthcare planner: my job is to work with the users and with the various building and healthcare codes to program the hospital appropriately. I have to make sure the facility has all the right spaces and rooms in the right sizes and quantities, which means I also look at a facility's utilization statistics (how many patients of what kind use what services and how often). I then use that info to locate the departments and rooms/spaces in those departments appropriately. This is more of a process than a one-and-done thing.

Chester, the lead designer: Chester's job is to figure out how this building should look, what it's made of, and how to get that outside to look and wear well given the spaces inside and the weather outside. This is not going tone easy, between designing with Montana's climate and Howie's attempts to interfere with exterior design. Godspeed, Chester.

Jimmy Ray, healthcare architect: he'll yeah, Jimmy Ray is on the scene, and not a moment too soon. He's been helping me work through planning issues, and he'll be very helpful when we have to start really drawing how this building goes together. Healthcare architecture isn't just thrown together, and Jimmy Ray knows all the codes I do. I'm relieved that he's here.

Devon, the design intern: I got Devon an interview at Design Associates, and they hired him quick like a bunny. Good thing, as he's not afraid to push back on Howie when he disagrees with a design decision. He's sharp and inquisitive to the point of almost being annoying. However, I'd rather answer a lot of questions than answer none--he wants to learn everything he can.

Vera, the planning and exteriors intern: Vera has skills in healthcare space planning as well as exterior detailing and she's pretty good with details as well, so we need her skills in a lot of places on the project. That being said, I'm really trying to reserve judgement on Vera, but it's tough. She refuses to work any overtime whatsoever, which is a pretty tough stance to take as a non licensed person in my field. Her questions sometimes feel like the wrong kind of pushback; not like she's trying to rethink how we do things, but rather it almost sounds like she wants to avoid doing anything that takes a lot of time. Yet she does and comes up with some amazing stuff sometimes. Again, I'm trying to reserve judgement, but it's tough.

Candace the planning intern: Candace expressed an interest to Bosley that she wanted to do healthcare planning and get away from exteriors, so she's helping out on planning as well. I worry that she wanted to be a healthcare planner because she thinks it'll be less work than doing CDs, but so far she's not bad. She also doesn't like overtime, but she will occasionally stay late at the last minute to help with a deadline.

That's the main group at DA for the project. We also have Evann, our landscape architect, and Shana, our interior designer, plus a host of eternally-entertaining engineers. I'll tell you more about them as the project moves forward.

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