Building Parkview Skilled Nursing Facility

Story by Mike Larson, Editor | September 28, 2010

The new $20.5-million Parkview Skilled Nursing Facility going up on Butler Ave. near Winnebago County Community Park in Oshkosh, Wis., is unique in many ways.

From a resident's perspective, the new, county-owned facility is unique because it is designed, as much as possible, to appear more homey than institutional, and to function like 16 10- or 11-resident communities rather than a single large-scale facility.

From the construction perspective, the three-building, 140,000-square-foot facility is unique because it combines a relatively new layout, several LEED inspired "green" building techniques and a fast-track construction plan that works the whole building at once.

Miron Construction Co., Inc., Neenah, Wis., is the project's construction manager, overseeing and coordinating the work of more than a dozen specialty contractors each performing its own particular piece of the project.

Miron, one of the Midwest's larger general contractors, was named the AGC of Wisconsin's outstanding general contractor for 2006.

Early on in the project, Miron consulted with the county to develop an efficient, fast-track construction sequence and timetable. Now it is keeping the project marching to the beat of the plan.

Miron's manager on this project, Kurt Wolfgram, explains, "This project is on a fast-track, whole-facility plan. Instead of working sequentially in phases from one side of a building to the other, all the specialty contractors are working concurrently throughout all three buildings. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other trades are often working in the same area at the same time. Even with everyone being conscientious, it takes careful coordination to keep everything in synch."

The new 168-bed Parkview facility replaces a county-owned convalescent home nearby that was built in 1922. That 85-year-old building will eventually be torn down. Parkview also stands next to a neighboring skilled nursing facility that will remain in use.

Non-Traditional Design Combines Hominess With Efficiency

Winnebago County, Wis., and designer Horty Elving, Minneapolis, Minn., wanted Parkview to give residents a non-institutional feel and good quality of life, while also being cost-effective and environmentally responsible.

The resulting design divides the facility into two two-story residential buildings that flank the central resident center containing administrative offices, the main entry and flexible multipurpose rooms.

To minimize the "institutional" feeling and encourage residents to interact with each other, the two residential buildings are each X-shaped, creating 16 10- or 11-person social groups called "households."

Two households make up a 21-person "neighborhood" that shares areas like kitchen facilities for residents who like to cook, a recreation room, and a porch or deck. Every resident's room offers a view of the nearby lake, a park or a garden; has its own lavatory; and is wired identically on two walls to permit flexibility in arranging furniture.

The institutional kitchens, laundries, heating plants, and other service areas that support Parkview's operation are in the basements of the buildings. Four service elevators will carry vital food, laundry, supplies, and other necessities to and from the service areas to the residential floors. Two other elevators will carry residents and visitors.

Good For Residents And The Environment

Parkview's design also incorporates many of the environmentally friendly principles of the Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

Wolfgram explained, "Although the county elected not to pursue formal certification under the LEED standards, Parkview was designed and is being built using LEED principles."

Senior Project Manger Jim Stahl elaborated. "For example," he said, "the HVAC and electrical systems follow LEED guidelines. Also, four 10-foot by 40-foot roof-mounted solar panels help provide hot water for the facility's heating system. Every window is energy-efficient triple-paned thermal glass. The floors are concrete. All of the interior walls use metal-stud framing, not wood. The insulation is a state-of-the-art exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS). Even the exterior trim is wood-look PVC, not wood."

Design Features Help Progress

According to Wolfgram, some of the building's design features have helped simplify construction. One example is the precast concrete flooring system, in which the precast panels sit on the bottom flanges of the main structural beams without any joists underneath.

"The same company cast and installed the floor panels," he said. "The system worked so well that they could complete a two-story wing every seven days. The joist-free system also provided clear, wide-open paths that simplified installing HVAC, electrical and plumbing utilities under the floors," he said.

In addition, because the wings of the residential buildings are all similar, workers quickly become familiar with the work that needs to be done.

"This has been a very smooth project," says Wolfgram. "The buildings were well designed, the construction was well planned and the plan is being well executed by everyone involved. This is just a great project all the way around."