Construction on schedule |

Construction on schedule

Becky Bosshart
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Kris Palmaccio, of Martin Iron Works of Reno, welds at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

Today the lobby of the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center is a dirt lot that construction workers and cranes cross over. In a year, patients and visitors will enter the lobby and walk into the new 350,000 square-foot medical center.

“We’re on schedule,” Marketing Lead Coordinator Cheri Glockner said this week. “The building will be done September 2005 and we’ll move in December 2005.”

That is welcome news to local cardiac patients who’ve been driving to Saint Mary’s hospital in Reno for treatment. The second floor will house the surgical unit, which will expand for cardiac surgeries. This will be a new service in the Carson City area.

The new medical center, under construction for a year, will have 146 beds and three floors of services.

But right now the steel beams are getting a thick coating of fire proofing, which is a mixture of water and cellulose.

During a tour of the construction site, General Superintendent Chris O’Higgins said the fire-proofing mixture is one of the many safety precautions builders are taking on this project. O’Higgins picked some of it off a steel beam. The gray substance, which hardens over time, had the consistency of grainy papier-mâché. The coating applied to this building has a two-hour fire rating. That means the building could be on fire for two hours before the steel starts melting.

O’Higgins, who works for the contractor, Hunt Group, Inc., said this project is the second largest tilt-panel building in America. Eight to 10 tons of steel has been poured into each wall, or “panel.”

Outside the hospital and up a small incline, is the central plant. O’Higgins called this the “heart of the hospital.” Heavy machinery beeped around the building as workers assembled the plant’s steel-beam frame. Two generators, covered with blue tarps had already been moved into the skeletal building. An emergency 40,000-gallon fuel tank will also be kept there. During power outages the central plan will become essential to operations.

More than 160 workers are subcontracted to work on the medical center, which is off Eagle Valley Ranch Road in sight of Highway 395.

Glockner said the hospital’s design is meant to convey a place of healing. Patient rooms have wide windows overlooking the city, Silver Oak Golf Club and mountains. Waiting rooms are tucked into discreet places. A large courtyard on the third floor sits between the Cardiac Care Unit and surgery unit.

Recently nurses and managers were given a tour of one mock patient room. The nurses critiqued the placement of the charting station, electrical plugs and furniture. Glockner said staff felt like they were a part of the decision process. The nurses also discovered a problem with the location of the charting stations, before they were placed in every room. Because of that, they will use mobile stations.

“They’re going all out to make this feel like a healing environment,” O’Higgins said.

Contact Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.

Medical Center fast facts

What: Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center

Where: Under construction off Eagle Valley Ranch Road in North Carson City

Beds: 146, with expanded cardiac services and other patient-care services

Size: On 80 acres, 350,000 square feet, three stories with a helipad

Biggest: Construction project ever in the Carson-Douglas-Lyon region

Total employees: 1,200

Completion: September 2005