OMAHA – The trailblazing Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center, designed by LEO A DALY and built by McCarthy Building Companies, has been named national Project of the Year and overall Best in Healthcare by Engineering News-Record (ENR).
Representing the pinnacle of design and construction achievement in the U.S., the project rose through ENR’s regional awards program in 2021 and received ENR Midwest’s best healthcare project award. It has earned more than a dozen design and construction awards to date, including a national Healthcare Design Award from the American Institute of Architects.
Several members of the project team were recognized in front of more than 600 industry professionals at Pier 60 in New York City during ENR’s Award of Excellence Gala on March 31. The Best of the Best crystal award was presented the following morning during the Best of the Best Awards Breakfast.
Designed and Built for Veterans
Part of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, the three-level, 157,000 SF outpatient facility is connected to an existing 12-story VA hospital built-in 1950. It relieved the hospital of most primary care services for the region’s more than 40,000 veterans. It also created an additional entry to the main hospital that expresses honor for its veteran occupants. A kaleidoscope of colored light throughout the main corridor evokes the colors awarded to military service members for acts of valor.
That experience was created using a glass curtain wall with colored laminate along the western façade. A 50-by-235-foot curtain wall along the northern façade leads occupants to the main entry, expresses the windblown pattern of an American flag, and reduces electric lighting loads on all three levels using healthy, natural daylight.
The facility houses seven primary-care clinics, including one exclusively for women veterans, and a specialty-care clinic. An operating suite includes five operating rooms whose sustainable engineering helped the project achieve energy use 26.2 percent below code.
Shaped by Teamwork
The Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center was funded through the first-ever public-private partnership (P3) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Private donors contributed $30 million to make the project a reality after the VA allocated $56 million. Teamwork created an opportunity for a new delivery process that combined elements from the traditional public- and private-sector delivery.
Unlike previous VA projects, the Construction Manager (McCarthy) joined the project team concurrent to design, which helped achieve $34 million in savings vs. traditional project delivery through early collaboration and co-selection of subcontractors. The schedule was abbreviated from 52 months to 36 months.
Through close coordination between the design and construction teams, the final project cost was within 1 percent of the original $67 million conceptual budget estimate provided during the project’s design phase. Lean construction practices enabled the team to meet the contractual completion date, despite experiencing 43 days of weather impacts during the project’s structural phase. Team members developed and implemented enhanced safety practices at the start of the pandemic, and the project recorded zero lost-time incidents.
“The community’s passion to make this project a reality carried over to our design and construction,” said LEO A DALY National Director of Engineering Kim Cowman. “We knew it was something special at the time, and now we keep seeing the project’s success as a healthcare resource for veterans, but this award and the level of recognition is humbling.”
About LEO A DALY
LEO A DALY is a leader in holistic, high-performance design, specializing in planning, architecture, engineering, interior design, and program management. Since 1915, the firm’s unyielding focus on design excellence has resulted in exceptional spaces that enhance and enrich the human experience. The firm’s award-winning, diverse portfolio includes projects in a wide range of markets in more than 91 countries, all 50 US states, and the District of Columbia.
For more information, visit www.leoadaly.com
About McCarthy Building Companies
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that spans all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 13th largest domestic builder (Engineering News-Record, May 2021) and is 100 percent employee-owned.
For more information, visit www.mccarthy.com