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Letter: Hospital construction by the numbers

Recently I had the opportunity to tour the new Perham hospital site. It rained throughout my tour, so the cement shined with water, but my spirits were not dampened. As I walked between the steel supports I visualized the future walls. The building at that stage, with so much exposed, was fascinating to see. When the hospital is completed, approximately 6,500 square yards of carpet will cover parts of the 4,600 cubic yards (560 truckloads) of concrete. It's hard to estimate, but something like 1,068,000 pounds (534 tons) of gypsum wallboard will be used.

Roughly 450 people are involved in the actual construction of the new Perham hospital, but the community as a whole is interested. Have you ever wondered how much steel the hospital required? The building has approximately 393 tons of structural steel. Here are some other interesting facts...

Several windows in the hospital are 11 feet tall. The tallest windows, which are 18 feet high, will flank the main entrance. That entrance leads you into the atrium that will hold several of the hospital's prominent features: the two-tiered water wall and water pool, and two gas fireplaces. The hospital design incorporates architecture and landscaping to help patients and their family members take the focus off their medical needs, even for a few moments. The water wall and fireplaces are some of those features that will provide a small reprieve. The atrium itself will present an impressive sight with its curved curtain wall over 186 feet long. The atrium is about 40 feet high, with the curtain wall alone being 24 feet tall at its highest point. To top it all off, about 600 tons of rock will cover the roof.

Research shows that natural lighting is the number one environmental factor in patient healing. With that in mind, the hospital will have 170 windows, counting multi-pane windows as one unit. The atrium curtain wall alone has 377 individual pieces of insulated glass. The curtain wall is the wall of windows above the second floor that will bring sunlight into the middle of the building. Also, 13 skylights situated at hallway intersections will bring light into otherwise windowless areas. While the atrium serves as a central point of reference, these skylights will be other landmarks for those navigating through the hospital--after all, it is a 120,000 square foot building with slightly more than 500 doors. The hospital will also be lit by 3,715 light bulbs.

The building will have 175 miles of electrical wire and low voltage cabling, give or take 2 miles. In the event of a power outage the hospital has two backup 1,000 KW electrical generators. By code, the hospital is required to have one 1,000 KW generator, which would keep all of the life safety systems and critical equipment running. The Perham hospital has chosen to install two generators, which will allow everything in the building to be working during a power outage.

Every workday averages 50-60 workers on site. In the coming months the interior work will speed up, and that number should increase to 80-90 workers. The workers used tools employing satellite-based GPS technology to establish the building's layout and elevations.

Soon you will be able to walk through the new hospital and think, this building has approximately 280 grab bars.

Facts provided by Richard Bell, Senior Project Manager at Nor-Son, Inc.

Dana Poore, Frazee