MUHA University Hospital / Children’s Hospital Infrastructure Relocation —Sabin Street Energy Plant
Location: Charleston, SC
Total Construction Cost: $40,503,000
Electrical Construction Cost: $16,100,000
In August 2010 the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) hired a team of architects and engineers to evaluate the potential threat and risk to the normal power, emergency power, steam, chilled water, medical gas, and other related infrastructure systems and equipment at the University, including the North Tower, and Children’s Hospital facilities. The study concluded that these hospitals could experience a total, catastrophic loss of the infrastructure equipment and systems.
The creation of a vertical building expansion with the lowest levels of the facility above the storm surge levels and the relocation of infrastructure equipment and systems to these elevated areas would greatly reduce the threat and risk of flooding and would be the best solution for continued operations of vital infrastructure systems during and after such events. The UH/CH Infrastructure Relocation became a five-phase mitigation plan. Only after the first four phases were complete could Phase Five, the Sabin Street Energy Plant begins. This project was unusually complex because it was constructed without interrupting electrical service to hospital facilities, where life safety is the prime consideration. The level of communication and cooperation among the design team, facilities personnel, and clinical staff was an exceptional example of project success. The future value in this system lies in the systems’ flexibility and robustness. The loss of a single generator, transformer, or automatic transfer switch does not result in a long emergency power outage. Most importantly, the major components are above flood level and MUSC hospitals are now better able to serve the Lowcountry community through severe storm conditions. Many lives will be saved because the hospitals are now equipped to continue to operate through extreme storm conditions.