Next-Gen Healers: Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine
Offering a three-year path to medical residency, opportunities to work in underserved communities, and a diverse student community, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine has grown in numbers and in reputation. Located in Nutley, New Jersey, about 15 miles west of New York City, the campus is also home to the Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation, which focuses on cancer, infectious diseases, and regenerative medicine research. With over half of the students from New York and New Jersey, the school has a mission to keep more physicians living and working in New Jersey.
THE ULTIMATE HEALTHCARE CURVEBALL
Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) enlisted LF Driscoll Healthcare’s New Jersey-based team to kick off a 20,000sf reconstruction of the School of Medicine. Preconstruction began in the middle of September 2020, when the world was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The LF Driscoll Healthcare team worked closely with HMH during this early phase to determine how to take advantage of fewer people in the occupied building while keeping the project team safe.
The team divided the floor into four pods to organize the work, minimize disruptions as students returned to the space, and maximize the budget and material lead times. Physical work began
in November 2020, demolition of the first two pods was completed
by the end of 2020, and demolition of the second two pods in mid-February 2021.
“The phasing and sequencing of the pods allowed us to keep the crews separated and create an efficient flow of the project for field production,” says Steve Maszczak, LFD Healthcare project executive. The growing number of COVID cases throughout construction and the increased safety protocols created a number of obstacles to schedules and coordination. But the team’s already deep-seated culture of safety also helped guide the way.
“Our Safety 360° culture had already reinforced an attitude of health and safety at all times,” says Frank Mascoli, LFD Healthcare superintendent. “We kept a close eye on all of the federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations and were able to progress construction on the school to keep it moving on time and on budget.”
STATE-OF-THE-ART TEACHING AND LEARNING FACILITY
With a steady scope, schedule, and plan of attack, the team was able to bring HMH’s vision to life. The colorful, bright space is a home away from home for the medical students and faculty, who spend most of their waking hours at school. Spaces for large and small groups, faculty offices, and student lounges are modern and comfortable.
The first pod consists of a 2,000sf learning studio, four small group rooms, seven private offices, a student lounge, and a pantry. The learning studio features 30 large screen monitors connected to a central broadcast system, a sound deadening portable partition, and it comfortably seats 130 students.
The second pod contains a 5,000sf tiered amphitheater which seats 177 students, eight small group rooms, two student lounges, and a pantry. Top of the line AV equipment includes three projectors, a variety of digital white boards, auto tracking cameras, six large screen monitors, and a central broadcast system. The third and fourth pods each hold 11 private offices, open office areas, two pantries, and a training/conference room.
In just 224 days after demolition began, the entire team felt an extra-special sense of accomplishment when the School of Medicine opened its new doors.
“This project in particular was so rewarding for our team,” says Joe MacInnes, LF Driscoll Healthcare sector leader. “While the world faced a health crisis, we were able to help create a place of learning for the next generation of doctors.”
Client: Hackensack Meridian
Location: Nutley, NJ
Size: 20,000 sf
Owner’s Rep: Stantec