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Denver Health OMC: Colorado’s 1st Full-Bolted Moment Frame System

Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center is topped out.


Turner Construction Co. recently celebrated the topping out of the new Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center. This marked the completion of the first-ever Sideplate, fully bolted, moment frame, steel connection system in Colorado. This system was originally born out of high-seismic areas such as the coastal regions, but the project team evaluated the system for Colorado for its additional benefits.

Laura Prendergast
Construction Executive
Turner Construction Co.

Denver Health engaged Turner Construction and HKS Architects in parallel when the project was nothing more than a program and a piece of property, and Turner brought on key trade partners via a target value design-assist process. The team co-located in a “big room” throughout the design phase and structured team members in component teams by discipline – sometimes referred to as innovation teams. The structural component team consisted of Turner Construction, HKS Architects, S.A. Miro Engineers, Drake-Williams Steel and LPR Construction, allowing for a collaborative, iterative design process where the team evaluated various structural systems early in the design phase.

The Sideplate system ultimately provided cost savings of approximately $500,000 over a traditional concrete core/shear wall system and also provided schedule savings by allowing structural steel to begin immediately following completion of the foundation, since there are no concrete shear wall elements. Safety and quality benefits also were realized by eliminating hundreds of hours of field welding. Welding was instead performed in the shop in a controlled, accessible environment.

The new structure spans over Seventh Avenue at the third floor, which creates a sizeable 10,000-square-foot porte cochère for patient drop-off, valet services and surgery pick-up. To accomplish this feat in conjunction with the Sideplate system, there are four, 85-foot-long, 9-foot-tall plate girders that span the street and support levels 3 through 7 above.

The new 290,00-sf, seven-story building will centralize numerous services under one roof in an easy-to-access downtown location on Denver Health’s campus. It will include a day surgery center, expanded pharmacy operations, lab services and radiology. Demolition of the former Denver Health Administration Building at 660 Bannock St. began in May 2018, and the new Outpatient Medical Center is scheduled to open doors to patients in 2020.

Denver Health provides medical care to nearly one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safety-net hospital and the largest health care provider to uninsured and underinsured patients in Denver. As the city’s population grows demand for quality health care services is increasing, and aging infrastructure and a lack of space are limiting Denver Health’s ability to meet increasing patient demand for services and care.

In the coming years, Denver Health anticipates many of its clinics will reach capacity. In a feasibility study led by Denver Health and the city and county of Denver, it’s expected that by 2024, 110,000 appointment requests will be denied each year as a result of over-demand, forcing patients to forgo medical care or seek treatment in emergency departments across the city. It’s also estimated that demand for Denver Health’s outpatient primary and specialty care services will reach its current capacity of 560,000 patient visits annually by 2019. Denver Health’s new Outpatient Medical Center will increase the hospital’s capacity more than 50% over current levels, going a long way to meeting the future needs of the vibrant city of Denver and enhancing Denver Health’s ability to treat heart disease, cancer, diabetes, behavioral health, dental and oral health, and offer expanded eye exams, physical therapy and surgical procedures for adults and children.

Published in the June 2019 issue of Building Dialogue.

Edited by Building Dialogue