The building under construction on Clayton Road at Clarkson Road is the new St. John’s Mercy Medical & Physician Services, an outpatient facility.  I thought you might want to know more about it.  So the following is an interview with the developers and project manager.


The St. Louis metropolitan area has long been known for offering a diverse array of outstanding healthcare services.  But many residents may not know our local community is also home to renowned healthcare design and construction specialists, VisDev Ventures, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Navvis & Company.  Clarkson Valley is the latest beneficiary of this homegrown expertise for the new St. John’s Mercy Medical & Physician Services outpatient facility under construction at the busy intersection of Clarkson and Clayton Roads.


Why is St. John’s Mercy building this building?

Wayne Williams, VisDev Ventures vice president of real estate and facilities development, explained, “St. John’s had a desire to deliver a new level of outpatient experience to the community.  This facility was designed to provide convenient access for patients and physicians, while providing patients with a unique level of confidentiality and comfort.”


Who is responsible for the construction?

Terry Bader, VisDev Ventures senior vice president, explained, “St. John’s Mercy engaged VisDev Ventures as the developer.  We then handpicked the design and construction partners needed to complete the team.  The selected construction team, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., the nation’s second largest healthcare builder, in collaboration with local award-winning design firm Archimages, broke ground on the new facility in July 2009.”


“Bringing this state-of-art healthcare project from vision to reality presented numerous design and construction challenges for the team, but the project is ahead of schedule, on budget and is scheduled to open to patients this August.  Nearly 150 tradesmen worked on the project at its peak, an important area benefit in these slower economic times.”


How did you decide on the building configuration?

Don Andrews, a Navvis & Company consultant providing counsel to health care systems, answered, “First, you have to consider the services to be offered at the facility, and that those services represent a high level of synergy between community-based needs and St. John’s Mercy’s vision for how best to meet those needs.  Achieving these objectives in collaboration with physicians through innovative care models is central to the project.”


“Our initial challenge revolved around the actual configuration of the facility on the site,” explained Terry Bader.  “This building needed a 125,000 square-feet footprint to support the services planned for the facility.  The architects were able to carefully accomplish this by designing a beautiful tiered building that meets the functional needs of the end-user groups while also being aesthetically pleasing.”


Did you consider green features?

“Yes,” said Bader, “featuring large glazed curtain-wall systems, the exterior of the building includes brick, cast stone and muted decorative lighting.  Inside the completed facility, patients, staff and visitors will benefit from a number of ‘green’ elements including natural lighting throughout, garden areas, lighting and occupancy sensors, and an energy-efficient white roof.”


How was technology employed in the design and construction process?

“Constructing a building with this variety of features can be complex.  We were able to take advantage of technology tools to help in this process,” commented McCarthy Project Manager Jared Hites.  “In the past, we would build a physical mock-up to test materials during our planned construction process to help identify and correct any potential problems.  On this project, through meetings with all the subcontractors, 3-dimensional ‘virtual mock-ups’ and SMART board technology, an interactive white board, were utilized in coordination meetings to assure quality and scheduled performance.  This enabled us to streamline the enclosure of the building, eliminate all above-ceiling mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection re-work and improve subcontractor coordination.”


What are you focused on now?

“The very wet winter also presented a challenge as construction moved ahead,” Hites continued.  “With more than 30 inches of rain, we had to plan and schedule work carefully to maintain the already aggressive schedule.  Despite these challenges, the project is currently tracking ahead of schedule.”


“Currently, the structure is fully enclosed and workers are installing flooring, casework and final electrical systems and balancing the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.”


This has been a true team effort from day one,” concluded Wayne Williams.  “We are excited for the residents of Clarkson Valley and neighboring communities to see the project really taking shape as it nears completion.”