After Senate Bill 1953 became law in 1994 requiring all hospitals in California meet certain seismic standards, the board at Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) initially planned to modify its existing hospital buildings. But retrofitting the three classic cloverleaf towers, which had been built in the late 1960s, became increasingly challenging. In 2010, that strategy changed and the hospital board approved the construction of a new adult hospital and the expansion of the LLU Children’s Hospital.
In 2016—after nearly six years of planning and deliberations—Loma Linda University Medical Center started to build a very long and structurally complex project that would total nearly one million square feet. Much of this project’s complexity was due to the fact that the whole building was to sit on 126 base isolators, which allowed the building to accommodate movement during a seismic event. The building “is engineered for optimal building safety and is designed to withstand a major earthquake,” according to Loma Linda University Health’s website.
Working alongside general contractors McCarthy Building Co. and electrical engineers Stantec Engineering, Bergelectric provided design assist and design build services for the electrical and low-voltage systems for the LLU Health Campus transformation project. The “modified design assist” project delivery format was a challenge—mostly because the tower was designed to move 3.5 feet in any direction on top of isolators. Other seismic forces on the high-rise building included deflecting and dampening components, over three inches of inter-story drift and movement of the base that isolated the building around the adjacent fixed earth.
Bergelectric’s early involvement in the design effort provided critical constructability input to reduce conflicts and provide innovative solutions for new issues not encountered before.
“Installing a series of 10 bus duct risers in a high-rise hospital building was something new,” said Bergelectric’s Sr. Operations Manager Dean Shipcott. “We worked with the electrical engineer [Stantec], our non-structural seismic and bracing consultant [ISAT] and the bus duct manufacturer to create a first-of-its-kind system,” Shipcott continued. The exclusive system was designed and engineered to provide the flexibility to accommodate the 3.7 inches of inter-story drift within the 16 feet between each floor.
The new Loma Linda University Health Dennis and Carol Troesh Medical Campus now stands 268-feet high, making it the tallest hospital in California. At 992,000 square feet, Loma Linda is now one of the largest hospitals in the region, second to Ronald Reagan Hospital in Los Angeles. The adult hospital is licensed for 320 beds, and the Children’s Hospital is licensed for 364. It has two emergency departments with 40 adult bays and 26 pediatric bays.
Additional campus features include a 10-megawatt emergency generator plant, expanded central energy plant, support services and more