RTM Engineering Consultants provided electrical engineering services for an expansion and renovation project at Watertown Regional Medical Center. Health Facilities Management (HFM) magazine did a feature story on the overhaul, which focused on providing a healthy environment for hospital staff, patients, and the community.
The 36,000-square-foot addition to the facility was designed for accessibility while also keeping patient health and wellness top-of-mind. The project included additions to the emergency department; ambulance garage; helipad; birthing center; and the renovation of a cafeteria, kitchen, and rehabilitation area.
RTM reconfigured the entire electrical distribution system to include a new 25 kV primary looped selective secondary system, low voltage main-tie-main redundant service, two 1000 kW standby diesel generators synchronized to a common bus, and all new automatic transfer switches.
The new layout of the hospital allows staff to be accessible to patients in need while also providing private areas for staff to collaborate. Storage space for files and equipment was added to each nurses’ station. Sheltered patient drop-off and pick-up areas were added for easy access and are centrally located to the emergency department, Wellness Works—a rehabilitation area—and the elevator to the second-floor Center for Women’s Health. The layout also provides comfortable family waiting spaces near patient rooms.
“Working as a cohesive team with the architect, contractors, and hospital staff, we were able to create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for patients and their families,” said RTM Principal Tim Larson, P.E. “We analyzed every aspect of the design and its impact on the facility and reviewed the budget at multiple stages throughout the project to ensure compliance; this is particularly critical within the healthcare sector.”
RTM encountered many hurdles throughout the project, including combining two different electrical services into a redundant main-tie-main arrangement, reconfiguring the entire emergency power distribution system and meeting the owner’s request to provide enough emergency power to back up the entire facility.
However, RTM’s expert engineers worked closely with facilities and the electrical contractor during the design process to ensure proper integration of old and new systems, while completing upgrades to the emergency power system without compromising patient safety or satisfaction. This was all accomplished within the constraints of the budget.