Hershey Medical Center Adds New Structure
By Francis Edgar
Slightly more than a year ago, thousands of commuters driving past the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA, noticed something a bit out of the ordinary – a large number of cranes and construction vehicles dotting the horizon and busily working to transform the bare landscape into something completely different.
Now, about one year later, a five-level, 1,500-space, precast/prestressed concrete parking structure has emerged, along with a state-of-the-art cancer research center.
The medical center serves not only as the primary hospital for the Hershey community, but also as the medical school for Pennsylvania State University. As a teaching facility, the medical center wanted the opportunity to bring cutting-edge cancer research directly to the patient’s bedside. This new facility and expansion necessitated the need for increased parking to accommodate the increased traffic.
Walker Parking Consultants served as the primary parking engineering consultant for the Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine Parking Structure project. It was designed by Payette Associates of Boston; Gilbane Building Co. served as construction manager.
Following several initial meetings with Gilbane during the very early, basic-concept stage of the project, an acceptable design alternative with additional a la carte design features was submitted and eventually the $7.8 million precast contract to produce and erect the precast/prestressed concrete products for the four-bay structure was awarded
Erection of the precast concrete began in December 2006 and was completed within four months. Said Gilbane Project Executive Dennis Vance: “We were very impressed with how quickly the precast was installed. Even though some underground geotech and sinkhole issues put us a bit behind schedule, the rapid pace achieved in erecting the precast helped us to make up that time.”
All together, more than 390,857 total square feet and 6,007 lineal feet of precast products were produced out of a Chambersburg, PA, plant for the project, which included precast columns, beams, solid slabs, double tees, column covers, shear walls, light walls, spandrel panels and stair units.
Four stair towers are located within the structure – two of which were designed as unique features, particularly when it’s lighted up at night. The design by Payette Associates was indeed a challenge for the stair producer, Castcon Stone of Saxonburg, PA. It produced the 17 stair units in the main parking garage for Nitterhouse Concrete Products. The stair units were designed as a double-cantilever with minimal support, and a second stair unit hanging off it. The integral stair landings were supported by a tree column below, with a small area on one side of the landing. The reinforcement was configured with low-deflection criteria due to the minimal support available. Castcon’s ingenuity in designing the structural stair units resulted in a stair system that complemented Nitterhouse’s architectural and structural precast design.
Precast/prestressed concrete can be manufactured in varying lengths and widths, and the producer can provide valuable input in recommending the most cost-effective layout for each application to achieve maximum loading and clear spans with minimal columns.
Francis Edgar can be contacted at fedgar@Nitterhouse.com.
Article Abstract from October, 2008