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Projects in the Works: Atrium Health

Established in 1987, Atrium Health is a Charlotte-based nonprofit health system with a longstanding history of providing leading-edge care throughout the Charlotte regions. As the population continues to climb in local counties, Atrium Health’s chief financial officer, Gene Woods says, “Improvements to CMC (Carolinas Medical Center) are a big focus for Atrium because the flagship facility is expected to reach capacity in five years.” To keep up with the community’s growing needs, Atrium Health put plans in motion to improve and expand their facilities in the Charlotte region.

With a substantial amount of site and infrastructure upgrades to take place across multiple locations, it was paramount for Atrium Health’s design group to keep the construction process as lean as possible from the project’s onset. With this in mind, they enlisted SurePods to assist in attacking the project enterprise-wide and prefabricate bathroom pods for multiple campus facilities. The scope included the design and prefabrication of pods for the Carolinas Rehabilitation Facility, as well as more than 400 pods for Phase 2 of the project, the flagship CMC Bed Tower.

Supporting the firm’s single-standard-approach, SurePods’ prefabricated construction methods allowed builders and designers from Atrium Hospitals to collaborate and agree on a consistent, efficient bathroom design to achieve economy of scale. This creative challenge was further aided by SurePods’ in-house team, who provided coordination, resolved design issues and helped with material selection. As a result of this collaborative effort, the hospitals are designed with consistent bathrooms, an outcome with a secondary benefit for healthcare workers. “Maintaining the same bathrooms and patient rooms in every hospitable was important so that staff could move easily between different sites,” said Scott MacLeod, Project Director at DPR.

Beyond design outcomes, healthcare facilities like Atrium function as a critical piece of infrastructure, especially in times of tremendous population growth. However, in areas like Charlotte that are experiencing a skilled labor shortage, even the most urgent construction projects can potentially undergo delays. This is another reason why healthcare settings can benefit from prefab construction’s ability to put control back in the hands of the builder—namely, by improving quality and productivity when the market doesn’t have capacity. “Prefabrication allows us to build in parallel, which improves our schedule. Working with packaged units with a single company also offer more control over outcomes than traditional construction. This is huge when it comes to eliminating damages in the field by other trades,” explained McLeod. “We’re able to build faster and better to serve communities on a wider scale.”

While the prefabricated pods’ ability to help accelerate construction timelines is already shaping up to be advantageous for the multi-phase, enterprise-wide project, so too is their ability to address changing market conditions. “You can build the pods in advance and store them until it’s time for installation,” said MacLeod. “This simplifies logistics and can also provide more control over volatile market conditions by mitigating risk to material availability and escalating prices.”

With strategic updates to Atrium Health facilities already underway, local residents can expect to see grand openings start as early fall 2022 and extend through 2026.

If you’re a contractor or developer with a project in healthcare and you want to learn more about how modular bathroom pods can benefit your build, connect with us at: [email protected].


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