Magnuson Yields to Hatfield
By Rich McManus
On the Front Page...
The rank of four blocks closest to the ACRF will sit roughly atop what is now Center Drive, explained Yong-Duk Chyun, CRC project director. What is now the front entry of the Clinical Center along Center Drive will eventually be demolished, he said, as the three phases of CRC construction progress. Center Drive will loop dramatically around the perimeter of the CRC, dividing, parkway style, into eastbound (inner loop) and westbound (outer loop) lanes separated by a median. At the suggestion of landscape architects, the two lanes in front of the CRC will be at different elevations with a wide median, owing to the way the land drops off toward the inn. The median will be specially landscaped and serve as the front terrace of the CRC entrance.
"That solution was a stroke of genius," enthuses Chyun. "We said to ourselves, 'Gosh, why didn't we think of this?'"
To make way for realignment of NIH's Main Street during phase 1, some 200 trees will be felled this fall, along with Apartment Bldg. 20 and five cottages/outbuildings, including Bldg. 15A, which belonged to the old Wilson estate that predated NIH's Bethesda location. Ironically, 15A is where Chyun and his team from the Division of Engineering Services have worked for the past few years on this project; they will relocate eventually to Bldg. 13.
"While pedestrian and motor traffic in the vicinity won't be affected much during construction, visually the impact will be humongous," said Chyun, who hopes the tree-felling occurs late enough in the fall that the leaves are already gone and barrenness has already set in. He emphasizes that landscaping around the new hospital will include at least as many trees as must be taken down. They will be arranged in progressively less regimented fashion the further one gets from the hospital, consistent with the master plan for the campus.
Phase 1, the shortest of the three phases at 2 months, includes fencing-off the Bldg. 20 demolition site. Some 90 parking spaces, virtually all of which had been reserved for residents of Bldg. 20, will be taken, and workers will remove hazardous material, chiefly asbestos, from the buildings to be demolished.
Phase 2, stretching from the latter part of October through May 1998, includes fencing off the east and west sides of West Drive to accommodate the new alignment of Center Drive, relocation of utilities and creation of two small temporary ponds to detain storm runoff during construction. Another 200 parking spots -- roughly half the big lot opposite Bldg. 10 near the inn -- will be lost at this time. Toward the end of this phase, the current entry to Bldg. 10's ACRF will close permanently.
The third phase commences in June 1998 and lasts until the building is up in spring 2001. During this period, the grand total of 900 parking spots (combined from all phases) will be lost as a portion of the parking garage in the ACRF is closed. Also, a permanent stormwater detention pond will be dug near the corner of Cedar Lane and Rockville Pike on what is now a Bldg. 31 parking lot for 300 cars. The pond was foreseen several years ago in NIH's 20-year master plan, which calls for buffer space around the perimeter of the campus.
"During the initial phases of construction, there's going to be lots of dust, and lots of noise," warned Chyun, but the result is both badly needed and hugely satisfying for the new occupants, patients and visitors. "There has been a great deal of emphasis placed on patient well-being," said Chyun. "Each patient room will have a couch near a window where patients' family members can sleep. More and more families are staying with patients these days. Many foreign patients expect to stay with the patient all day long." There will also be a supervised play area for kids whose parents or guardians are receiving medical attention -- sort of "like the playland at Ikea," chortled Chyun.
Allocation of patient care space among the ICDs -- always a source of internecine struggle -- should be determined by mid-September; dibs will be placed on research space on a more leisurely schedule, according to Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research. He, along with CC director Dr. John Gallin, steer the CC renewal group, which meets monthly to oversee progress on the CRC. The group has solicited advice and recommendations on features for the new hospital from hundreds of NIH'ers and consultants, who were interviewed extensively.
What will become of Bldg. 10 once the CRC is online? Chyun says master planning and money are sorely needed for the facility, now undergoing infrastructure repairs designed to keep it functioning primarily as a lab facility for the coming decades. It will continue to house most of the diagnostic and treatment functions of the new hospital, including radiology, the second floor surgical suite (which will have its own dedicated passageway to the new CRC), and nuclear medicine. Old Bldg. 10 will continue to house conference and cafeteria space (expanded by the migration of the nutrition department to the CRC), and the ACRF, completed in 1981, will maintain its role as an outpatient clinic. Each floor of the CRC will connect directly with the ACRF, but the underground parking garage and first few floors must be drastically reworked to allow easy passage between old and new portions.
One drawback of the old building that continually plagued CC management has been slow elevator service within the hospital. The CRC will boast many banks of elevators to assure good "vertical circulation," said Chyun, who noted that even the ACRF will gain a bank of six new elevators as it grafts onto the CRC. "There won't be any long waits," he assured.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $333 million CRC has been tentatively set for Oct. 31, which happens to be the 57th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to campus to dedicate Bldg. 1. Sen. Hatfield will be the guest of honor on that occasion.
Three prime contractors are handling CRC design and construction for the General Services Administration, on behalf of NIH. Boston Properties, a development management company, holds all contracts and does all procurement, Chyun explained. "This reduces NIH's management involvement a lot. Boston Properties provides soup-to-nuts services." BP in turn has hired two subcontractors: McCarthy Construction Managers, who hold all construction contracts, and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, who are design and planning consultants, and the architects of the CRC.
To follow CRC construction progress in the coming months, stay tuned to both the NIH Record and the new CRC Website, debuting soon on the ORS home page.
Whither 'Sky Horizon?'
Sharp-eyed readers will realize that if the CRC is built on the front of Bldg. 10, something's got to go -- namely the large black metal sculpture called "Sky Horizon," by Louise Nevelson. The artwork must relocate, at least temporarily, and the most likely site at the moment seems to be the Natcher Bldg. environs. It may eventually migrate back to the CRC, but that hasn't yet been decided. Keep your eye on the sky...
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