The Energy to Improve Hospitals

In 2017, MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland launched a three-year, $57 million construction project. The bulk of the project is a brand-new $30 million addition to the north side of the Medical Center property. The 160,000-square-foot building will be the home of MidMichigan Medical Center’s new Heart and Vascular Center. Previously, many of the Medical Center’s cardiology offices have been located off-campus. By moving those services closer to other hospital operations, MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland hopes to serve patients more effectively and save more lives.

Before MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland could break ground on the new project, it had to make space for it. That meant demolishing an existing building on the north side of the property—a building that happened to house the hospital’s main electrical room. Windemuller was called in to move the site utilities and set up a new electrical room on the south end of the hospital property.

The Challenge

The very nature of the project was a challenge. First, Windemuller had to fit the hospital’s main electrical distribution equipment into an existing mechanical room in the basement of the hospital. This mechanical room was located on the opposite side of the hospital campus from the existing electrical room. Second, once the new electrical room was set up, we had to cut over the hospital’s electrical loads from the old equipment to the new equipment.

Perhaps most crucially, we had to execute all electrical cutovers without disrupting hospital operations. In a hospital setting, conducting a job like this isn’t a matter of minimizing downtime, but of eliminating it altogether. In order to retain accreditation, hospitals must have certain systems—including CT machines and X-ray machines—online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In other words, Windemuller couldn’t execute a planned shutdown of a certain X-ray machine unless the hospital had redundant machine on the premises.

The Solution

Windemuller’s biggest assets on this project were careful pre-planning, full coordination with hospital staff, and meticulous calculations to strategize electrical cutovers. Where equipment shutdowns weren’t possible, we used temporary trailers to feed electricity to the relevant systems. Such was the case with the hospital’s CT machines. Elsewhere, we worked closely with hospital departments to minimize downtime and avoid inconvenience or risk to human life.

Ultimately, Windemuller was able to complete the project with minimal interruptions and MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland is now running a brand new electrical room. The completion of our project, meanwhile, frees up the hospital to move forward with demolition and commence work on the new Heart and Vascular Center. The full project is expected to be done by spring of 2020.

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