Old Hospital Becomes New Training Facility

Christina Fisher, pictures courtesy of Hay Construction | September 28, 2010

Hay Construction will soon be completing major renovations on the former hospital building at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which closed in the 1990s. The old hospital will now have a new mission as a training facility for such medical fields as x-ray technology, phlebotomy, surgery technology, sonograms, pharmacy tech, health information management, etc.

When Hay Construction arrived on site, the interior demolition was 85 percent complete. Hay Construction finished the demolition work and then began extensive renovations on the remaining structure.

The original building was composed of a main section and two wings; it sits entirely on a crawlspace. A major part of the project involved installing footings in order to support the new shear walls for the building, a building code requirement for potential earthquakes.

According to Ken Deuker, project superintendent, "There was a 4-foot crawlspace under the main section, and we put footers in there. From the top of the slab down, we went 8 feet 9 inches, and these were 3 feet 6 inches wide with No. 11 rebar."

"We actually had guys working in that crawlspace for weeks on footings," adds Greg White, project manager. "The guys would dig and form the footings in the crawlspace. We would create an opening in the concrete floor to either pump concrete through, or we would bring it in through one of the louver openings on the side of the foundation."

Once the concrete was pumped to the underside of the slab, the No. 11 rebar continued on up through the shear walls for heavy duty reinforcement. The shear walls are in various places throughout the building. When an original central stairwell was eliminated, two new stairwells were added on either side of the main building. White explains that the architect took advantage of the new stairwells to create 22-foot 6-inch shear walls for the stair shafts. The perimeter walls around the original elevator shaft were also demolished and reconstructed as shear walls.

In B section, which is one of the building’s two wings, additional shear walls also provide support for the HVAC units on the roof.

Hay Construction also removed some structural beams to install the new HVAC system. These areas were reinforced with stronger but smaller steel beams to allow room for duct work in the ceiling.

Cutting, sawing and drilling during the renovation process proved to be a challenge due to the strength of the concrete.

"The concrete was extremely hard," says Deuker. "It has quartz rock in it – old river rock that is sometimes an inch in diameter. We went through a tremendous amount of bits and drills trying to get through this stuff."

Once the interior rough-in was completed, the floors were patched and the building re-roofed. Once the interior stud walls, door frames and sheet rock were installed, the work moved to the exterior for decorative facing on the existing columns.

The project is scheduled to be completed in June.