St. Vincent's Medical Center Parking Garage
Parking Expansion Crisis Solved With Precast Concrete!
St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, CT has humble beginnings that go back to 1905 when the first building opened its doors. The original building was replaced in the mid 70‘s. Now, again, St. Vincent’s needs to expand and is adding 125,000 square feet of new construction and renovating another 125,000 square feet. Just the expanded and refurbished Emergency Department alone adds 60 beds with the capacity to treat 80,000 patients a year.
This expansion is welcome and sorely needed, but now space is limited. The only viable space to expand into is the existing parking lot and that creates a new problem: Where to park?
The solution is a seven level, 179,962 square foot parking structure that adds 614 spaces, but time is short and the parking structure not only has to fit into the neighborhood aesthetically, but has to harmonize with the existing medical center buildings. The parking structure includes a separate area for doctors to park in giving them closer access into the medical center.
John Hawley, Project Executive with Gilbane Building Company elaborates on the reasons for choosing precast concrete to meet schedule demands, “Precast concrete was critical to schedule performance for the St. Vincent’s project. The project was able to be bid out to precast suppliers at ‘design development’ level drawings from the design team. The precast supplier was then hired to provide ‘design assist’ services to make sure that the final garage design and precast shop drawings could proceed simultaneously.” Bringing the project’s precast concrete supplier, Blakeslee Prestress, onto the team early allowed them to elaborate on the aesthetic options while tackling scheduling issues early on. This team effort was invaluable to getting this parking structure built in just four months as strain on the existing parking spaces was already at a dire level.
Precast was the top choice for aesthetic reasons too. David Vander Wal, PE and Vice President with Walker Parking, the project's consultants, said that the “main driver (for using precast concrete) was the need to provide a nice-looking transition from the residential housing across the street to the hospital.” According to Vander Wal, precast concrete with a brick clad façade was also a cost-effective solution. This type of façade is achieved by placing ” brick tile into a form. The concrete is then poured on top locking the brick tile into place and giving the look of a beautiful brick wall with the added strength and low maintenance of a precast concrete panel. The white thin brick façade and overall parking structure design blends with the cohesive look of the entire medical center campus.
The attributes of precast concrete parking structures include its durability, corrosion-resistance, fire resistance, and its need for minimal maintenance. Concrete uses recycled fly ash, which would otherwise end up in a landfill, and can be recycled at the end of its exceedingly long life. A precast parking structure can be built using little more then the buildings footprint making it a perfect solution for cramped urban areas. Timing is everything and speed is at the top of the list for precast concrete, from concept to over 600 parking spaces in 4 months, now that is getting the job done! It’s no wonder that precast concrete is being used for more parking structures than any other building system.
Structural Precast Elements:
• 238 Double Tees
• 3 Girders
• 16 Columns
• 23 Horizontal litewalls
• 1 Spandrel
• 28 Stairs
• 165 Wall panels
• 35 Solid slabs