This is the seventh in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
As the hospital building exterior framework nears completion, Schuff Steel organizes the “Topping Off” ceremony which includes speeches, “topping off” hats, and the ceremonial last beam signed by project and hospital staff before hoisting it in place.
Although the building construction continues at a rapid pace, there is still lots of activity in the BIG Room with user group meetings, BIM (Building Information Modeling) systems to coordinate, and all the related project estimating and documentation requirements:
The BIG Room is also filled with big characters who help keep us focused, on-track and in good spirits. They also remind us that despite the demands of developing a large complex building, it’s important to have fun - whether it’s during a report-out or to create a shrine to weird food and multi-tasking in our shared kitchen.
The BIG Room and its talented collection of personalities is truly an experience. Thankfully I got to enjoy this short time with some dedicated and fun people.
As the ironworkers continue to install steel framing for the new hospital, BIG Room holiday cards are now available at the Banner UMC Tucson Gift Shop!
This is the sixth in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
For several months now the two large cranes have been hoisting the steel members up to the new hospital framework at a rapid rate. Our BIG Room team are now fully distracted with watching not just the motion of the cranes, but also the dexterity and movements of the ironworkers as they dance around the steel framework on narrow flanges of steel or sometimes simply standing on safety wires. Although each worker is secured with harnesses and self-retracting lifelines, it’s a precarious job and fascinating to watch. The steel members on the ground are laid out in an organized manner for their ultimate position in the building. Workers on the ground secure cables to the steel members to be lifted into place by a crane and then ironworkers on the edge of the building frame use a tagline rope to control the beams and ease the steel member into place. When the steel is close to the point of connection, ironworkers position the beams in place with the long pointed bar of a spud wrenches to align bolt holes. Then bolts are inserted and the wrench end is used to tighten the bolts. For “moment resisting” connections, where the steel members must resist a combination of tension and compression force, a team of welders makes the connection secure with deep penetrating welds. The ironworkers are also involved with installing metal decking for the concrete floors that are poured on the decking.
Terry bolting a steel member while safely suspended from a column. While I was studying his work, he told me after he came down that he was worried that I was a safety inspector, although he was sure he was doing everything correctly. Afterward, I tried to be less obvious while watching the ironworkers since they certainly did not need any distractions.
At a recent lunch with some of the ironworkers from Schuff Steel I learned a few things about their lives and risks. Aaron, a local ironworker, quickly but politely corrected my use of the term “steelworker” by explaining that “steelworkers” work in a steel fabrication shop preparing the steel members for use in the field. The “ironworkers” are the ones working outside on a building to erect, position, bolt, and weld the steel members into place. This hospital building that Aaron and his crew were working on is a unique project for them and for Tucson. Normally these highly specialized workers are on a job for a month and then they are off to the next one – often in another city. Our project will keep them steadily employed in one place for many months. In Tucson, there are just not that many steel frame buildings being constructed so for an ironworker in Tucson, the opportunity to stay in one place was a uniquely stable situation.
The jobs these guys do looks risky - and it is. Many of them told tales of their last or most serious falls, including Aaron's recent free fall of 35 feet resulting in both ankles getting broken, an arm penetrated by a spud wrench and multiple other serious injuries. He had a deep appreciation for doing a hospital project having spent so much time recovering in one.
With the BIG Room overlooking the steel framework, the BIG Room participants have a greater appreciation for the work of ironworkers. We are also constantly reminded that our work together is important for the patients and hospital staff who will soon inhabit the new hospital. Some of our patients occasionally get to watch the workers erect the building from their patient rooms. To help connect our pediatric patients to the project and to give them some distractions during their stay, some of our project team have introduced Pokémon characters into the building framework. It’s important to have some fun during a long and serious project.
This is the fifth in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
What requires 18 large flatbed trucks to be delivered…
…three days to assemble…
…requires other smaller versions of itself to get assembled…
…weighs 700,000 pounds when fully assembled...
...will be taller than any building in Tucson, and is decorated with Christmas lights…
…and had 50 members of the BIG ROOM celebrate the final assemble?
A BIG CRANE!
Manufactured in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, our BIG CRANE is a Manitowoc 2250 Series 3. These types of cranes are called “Lattice Boom Crawler” cranes meaning that they are not fixed “tower” cranes but can move around the site at 1 mph. Due to the excessive weight of the crane, it needs to be disassembled when moving across existing onsite utility tunnels and then reassembled to complete the steel erection of the new building. The crane has a 200-foot main boom and a 160-foot jib – which is 60 feet longer than a football field. At its full height, the crane is 400 feet tall. Christmas lights are installed on the boom of the crane with flashing strobe lights and an orange checkered flag at the highest point to alert helicopter pilots flying to our helipad around the crane. The crane is scheduled to place 80 pieces of steel each day and will be working on site with a second (even larger) crane for five months on the project site.
This is the third in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
We've had several important milestones and events to celebrate during the past couple of months. We finally scheduled the formal groundbreaking even though we've been under construction and "breaking ground" for several months. While it seems logical to have a project groundbreaking at the start of construction, these events are scheduling nightmares for those trying to coordinate the busy calendars of speakers. For our event, we wanted to include the leadership from the City of Tucson, the University of Arizona, and Banner Health, so this took considerable coordination. We finally got everyone scheduled for May 26. Here is the University's press release for the morning event:
Hospital physicians, staff, neighbors, UA leaders and community leaders are invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the $400 million, nine-story tower at Banner – University Medical Center slated to open in early 2019.
Guest speakers include:
The nine-story tower is the centerpiece of $1 billion in construction undertaken by Banner Health in support of the UA Colleges of Medicine and academic medical centers in Tucson and Phoenix.
Ironically, we put the morning construction activities on-hold while we conducted the ceremonies on the construction site. We also prepared a series of display posters that included project information and several historic images illustrating the history of the project site including the time that the University supported a R.O.T.C. cavalry training site and a successful polo team. Since many of the speakers referenced the unique history of the site, it seemed that this was interesting to many of the participants.
There were several groups who participated in the ceremony of digging into the prepared soil with silver shovels including this sketch of the Banner University Medicine Division leadership team.
The other event we celebrated was the design team's completion of the "shell and core" set of drawings. This massive set of approximately 500 drawings included the building exterior "shell" and "core" interior elements that was submitted to the City of Tucson for review and permitting for the construction team to construct the envelope of the building. The Shepley Bulfinch and GLHN architectural team with AEI, their mechanical engineering team, and many others including input from the Sundt|DPR construction team and their trade partners did a remarkable job pulling together so many issues and challenges in such a short time. Having a BIG ROOM where we could all collaborate certainly contributed to the efficiency and success of the team. At our June 16th Thursday report-out, we took a moment to pose for a group picture sporting their "Foster Grants". The sunglasses became a trademark for this event after seeing a picture of architect Ned McKnight hiding his eyes after many long nights.
Another event last month was the first "Dress like Russ Day". For many months we have been admiring architect Russ Combs’ ability to show up in the BIG ROOM with outfits that defied any clothing tradition. He was the master of combining plaids and stripes, blending Hawaiian florals with east coast simplicity, and introducing styles to each other that were never intended to be in the same room. His contradictory and conflicting approach to apparel inspired us to have a special day to see if anyone could come close to matching or at least capturing some element of Russ's inspired dress code. Of course we had many attempts, but Russ "out –Russed" us all with a vintage Ralph Lauren Madras patch suit, bright orange socks, a Bazinga t-shirt, and topped off with a fedora. We did give Russ an opportunity to select a runner-up and thanks to a bright vintage 1960s tie made by my wife, I was awarded the runner-up prize to Russ. However, I suspect that I may have been given special consideration as the project owner's representative.
Celebrations are important – especially during a four year long project!
This is the second in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
The BIG ROOM has been busy since the last posting on May 3. We conducted a mini retreat that gave us an opportunity to revisit project goals, assess our progress and identify areas to re-focus. We also had a “Half-time” show where some of our team members showed off their talents including a couple of comics (to be expected in a group like this), a woodwind interlude with a flute and soprano saxophone, and yes, a review of some the BIG ROOM sketches.
However, the big activity was down below us as the building pad was created from the soil excavated from a storm water detention basin excavation and the new hospital’s caissons were drilled and poured. It was hard to capture the energy involved in drilling 50 feet underground, placing a rebar cage, and then pouring the caisson hole full of concrete. Still, it was a lively sight above ground with the colorful cranes, earth movers, and tall orange concrete pumpers. All this is foundation work needs to be done in June since the building’s steel framework starts to get erected in July. It’s an exciting time, working with the project team in the BIG ROOM, while a small army of workers and heavy equipment get the site ready for the building’s skeleton.
Of course the colorful equipment does not work without key people in the field like Jake or design and engineering staff like Laura who is captured here checking the field work and entering reports back in the BIG ROOM. We also have our weekly report-out sessions when we wrap up the week's activities and focus our priorities for the upcoming weeks as shown with the sketch of Brittany leading a BIG ROOM session.
Our long-time “gang” member and tour leader, “Ranger Bill (aka Dr. William Shaw, the renowned wildlife biologist) and his wife Darcy recently led the other members of our “gang” on a short trip to see the remarkable Sonoran Desert World Heritage site, El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico with an overnight in one of Arizona’s oldest mining towns, Ajo, Arizona. Although the Pinacate reserve was our primary focus, our overnight stop in Ajo was a surprisingly rewarding destination. The old 1916 Ajo plaza which is one of Arizona’s great public squares has been restored, and the 1916 Curley School campus which looms up to the west of the plaza is now the home for the “Sonoran Desert Conference Center”, the “International Sonoran Desert Alliance”, a community garden, and numerous artists’ lofts and work spaces.
We stayed at the Conference Center in rooms that were tastefully converted from the old classrooms and featured light fixture sculptures created from the old classroom fluorescent light fixtures and many other touches recalling the old classrooms. Although we only had a short time in Ajo, I managed a few sketches of the Curley School entrance, its stately dome, and the entry balcony with an owl sculpture to oversee the entering students. The school was full of scuplture and educational inspirations as a majestic reminder of Ajo’s glorious mining days.
While waiting for breakfast, I managed to sneak in a quick sketch of the Tucson, Cornelia & Gila Bend Railroad station at the east end of the Ajo plaza while chatting with the plaza caretaker who was rightly proud to be a native of Ajo with employment on the town’s plaza. After breakfast, we stopped at the Ajo Chevron & Food Mart, El Cobre Deli (named after Ajo’s copper mining history), which is known for their homemade burritos. The display of these infamous burritos at a gas station was worthy of several sketches, but we were anxious to get to the Pinacate reserve so that we could be sure to have a campsite for the evening.
It was a relatively quick trip from Ajo across the border to the Reserve’s entrance just south of Sonoyta on Federal Highway 8 on the way to “Rocky Point” (Puerto Penasco) - where most of the traffic of the massive American RV’s were headed. Before entering the Reserve, we stopped at the new Visitor Center (“Centro de Visitantes Schuk Toak”) just a few kilometers further south on highway 8. The building is an extraordinary self-sustaining building in the middle of a lava field which is worth the short visit to see the numerous introductory exhibits for the Reserve.
Although Arizona did not get very much winter rain this year, the Mexican Sonoran Desert must have received some recent moisture resulting in an impressive show of yellow brittle bush flowers and red blooms crowning the ocotillo plant. As we drove further into the volcanic areas of the Reserve, the black cinders covering the landscape and the exuberance of spring flowers provided a striking contrast between the harsh land and the ephemeral seasonal flower display. It was difficult to resist stopping every few feet to try to capture the splendor on camera and in watercolours. Our first stop was the Elegante Crater, where I foolishly tried to capture the entire crater landscape in a single quick sketch.
Fellow gang member Karen Wood took a picture of my effort to capture this immense crater. Her photo does a better job of showing the scale of the crater. Frustrated with the difficulty of sketching the crater and annoyed with my travel water brush that kept drying out too quickly, I tried to take in another scene while sitting in the shade of a Palo Verde tree.
After touring a bit more, we drove to our designated camp in Tecolate where we hiked up the cinder hill and then we settled into an evening under the stars. Fellow gang member, astronomer, and expert photographer Steve Larson took a sunset shot of me sketching our camp from on top of the cinder hill. He then took another one of me walking back to our camp amongst the yellow brittle bush and ocotillos. I wish my sketch was as successful as Steve’s photos.
After cocktails, Bill and Darcy provided a gourmet meal of turkey chili, cornbread, salad, and a decadent dessert of salted caramel bars. With the sun over the crater, Lindy amused us with her “Star Walker” phone app while Steve Larson provided further commentary on clear evening sky. With Lindy still playing with her phone app, everyone else scrambled off to bed rolls inside their cars while Lindy and I enjoyed the evening sky outside on our luxurious folding cots.
The next morning, I wanted to try to avoid yesterday’s sketching mistakes and tried a more modest sketch of the organ pipe cactus and ocotillo plant that kept me company during the night. This simpler subject was a much more satisfying way to start the day. We then drove through a stand of regal saguaros amongst the brittle bush on our way to the Cerro Colorado Crater. Although I desperately wanted to stop and sketch this, I had to fabricate the sketch later from memory which is far less rewarding than sketching in place.
We drove to the top of the Cerro Colorado, and I was again faced with a massive scene to capture. This time I tried not to paint the entire crater and surrounding landscape. I think I managed to stop in time to keep the image from becoming too muddy. It was certainly a less frustrating approach and allowed for more interpretation within the lines.
Later while the others hiked, I again tried to capture the entire Cerro Colorado from the crater’s base in a shady spot – my efforts were again captured by Karen.
My last sketch of the trip was perhaps my most ambitious as I tied to insert the gang hiking toward the crater. No matter how hard I tried to simplify the sketch, I couldn’t resist drawing the entire conical shape, but did manage to leave out enough to allow for some white paper to remain between the lines.
I started this trip hoping to capture a magnificent landscape in a few sketches, but found that the Reserve’s grandeur was a bit more challenging for me. The experience did remind me to keep looking for the essence in a place and not try to put everything into a watercolour travel sketch.
My mother-in-law, Lucie, treated us to second row seats at the University’s Stevie Eller Dance Theatre’s opening season show of “Color Wheel”. It’s a great show and a fabulous performance hall to watch the very talented UA Dance Ensemble take on six highly entertaining pieces ranging from the “Antique Epigraphs” choreographed by Jerome Robbins to five others conceived and choreographed by members of the School of Dance Faculty.
The dancers were all captivating and the music consistently engaging through all six pieces. The energy of these performances just begs for the listener to get involved. Some people tap their feet, some nod, and I found it’s a great venue to draw blind. With the lights down low, my eyes riveted on the dancers, the program on my lap, and a red pen, I tried capturing a bit of the movement and energy of some of the performances. Since I couldn’t see the result until the lights came back up, it takes all the worry about how a sketch looks. For a few minutes with my feet tapping and my pen skittering across the page, I felt like I was part of the performance. As a commentator cites on the School’s web site: "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I'll understand."
This month marks the 4th anniversary of the tragic shooting in Tucson at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner” event at a local Safeway store. Six people died that morning and 13 were wounded, including the Congresswoman. The wounded were taken to the hospital where I work, University Medical Center, now known as the University of Arizona Medical Center. Almost immediately after the first patients arrived, there were temporary mementoes deposited at the front lawn of the hospital, and subsequently at the Safeway store and the Congresswoman’s office. My role in all this was as a hospital staff member who helped an administrative staff who were overwhelmed with the clinical, family, and media demands placed upon them and who needed someone to manage the growing memorials. Now, after four years of dedication to this cause including membership with the January 8th Memorial Foundation Board as their president, enduring countless interviews, and offering endless presentations, I’ve decided to reflect on the meaning of memorials.
During all this time, it became apparent that spontaneous and yet temporary memorial gestures offer the community an opportunity to re-connect with those lost and to become part of a broader community spirit. Like other tragedies, Tucson’s temporary memorials sought to reflect a community mandate to transform grief into something permanent and meaningful for the survivors and for the community who felt that their community deserved to have a lasting memorial. Over the past few years there were many memorials developed for individuals lost and wounded that day. However, the Tucson community still expected a central permanent memorial to celebrate the community’s response to the tragedy, to remember those lost and wounded, and to recall the importance of local and individual access to our government’s representatives and institutions. After many meetings and consultations with survivors, political leaders, and community representatives, our Tucson memorial planning has brought the focus to Tucson’s government center to create an appropriate memorial at the historic Pima County Courthouse where it intersects with Tucson’s central gathering space, El Presidio Park.
As our Board and many passionate volunteers continue to work on fund-raising, designer selection, and all the details required to create a suitable memorial, I am continually amazed at how much hard work, time, and money it takes to create memorials. I often wonder if those who deposited a bouquet of flowers, a personal card, a stuffed toy animal, or some personal memento during those early days of grief had any idea of the rippling cause and effect their simple gesture would create.
The world is filled with memorials created for many purposes, but during my visits and talks with memorial representatives, I have had a chance to reflect on a few common themes. Close to home is the Yarnell 19 Memorial in Prescott, Arizona that has created a variety of memorial projects to remember the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots who lost their lives fighting a wildfire on Yarnell Hill. Flowers, firefighting gear, and other mementoes have been incorporated into a Tribute Fence, a preservation project in the Prescott Public Library, a marathon in Tucson, and an on-line memorial. However no one will ever forget the image of those 19 empty firefighters’ boots and gear during the memorial service.
The names of the 19 fallen firefighters are displayed during a memorial service at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz. on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Prescott's Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun by smoke and fire while battling a blaze on a ridge in Yarnell, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix on June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow, Pool)
The Oklahoma City Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing at a Federal office complex on April 19, 1995 with a museum, an annual marathon, and a remarkable “Outdoor Symbolic Memorial” that has become one of the city’s top tourist visitation sites. Its lasting image is of the empty chairs to recall the lost lives that day.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City is an example of a memorial that took more than 70 years to develop and for some time was nearly forgotten. It is now a four-acre memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt that celebrates the Four Freedoms he articulated in his 1941 State of the Union address. It was designed by the architect Louis Kahn, who was carrying the finished designs with him when he died in 1974. His vision of creating an outdoor room and garden is a hauntingly silent place of personal and urban reflection with a clear view of the United Nations building and Manhattan across the East River. Its lasting image is a monumental yet quiet and reflective space between the frentic urban communities of Queens and Manhattan.
Of course no current reflection of memorials can be without reference to the 9/11 Memorial and its related memorials in Washington and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93 was brought down by heroic passengers. The 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan is clearly without peer in terms of scale and impact with two massive and unforgettable square fountains that recall the missing twin towers and the adjacent 9/11 Memorial Museum with a seemingly endless line of visitors waiting patiently to experience the various memorials and tributes underground. While experiencing the countless fire trucks, building remnants, and ceremonial artifacts in the 9/11 Memorial Museum, I became numb with the unbelievable loss of life, families affected, and property literally demolished. However it was a simple audio recording that I heard in one of the many chambers of the museum that brought my emotions literally to a head. Amongst all the exhibits, this recording of a firefighter talking to a fellow firefighter on a radio during the many rescue efforts that morning was one of the more powerful remembrances that most of the firefighters that went into those buildings never returned.
Many wars have spawned countless memorials, but a memorial that continues to resonate world-wide after 95 years is the World War I annual remembrance reflected in the poem “In Flanders Field” by the Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
Although there are many lasting tributes to the war, including Sir Edwin Lutyen’s Cenotaph at Whitehall, London, it is the reference in the poem to the red poppies which grew over the graves of fallen soldiers that has become the anthem for “Remembrance Day”.
Regardless of the tragedy or the resulting memorial, it is often the simple gestures that endure. Of course different tributes affect each of us differently, but who would have thought that a discarded poetic reference to red poppies would become the lasting tribute to the 37 million dead and wounded of World War I. Of course the many other memorial sculptures, parks, museums, and other tributes are important. However wouldn’t the ultimate memorial tribute be the end of wars, the cessation of meaningless shootings by deranged individuals, or the end to whatever tragedy that becomes memorialized? Memorials are important elements of any enduring community that experiences tragedy. While they take an extraordinary amount of work and resources to develop, they do not stop tragedies from occurring. But they do bring a focus to a community spirit and they remind us that there is some meaning to often senseless tragedies.
I do not expect our Tucson memorial to end senseless shootings, but I do see a community spirit that endures across a diverse spectrum of political beliefs. We have not yet found our red poppy, but I suspect that it will emerge as we engage designers to help us bring together a community vision.
This has been a good monsoon season for the Tucson desert regions. Thanks to two hurricanes that brought lots of moisture, our rain gauges show that we’ve received nearly 10 inches of rain this season with even more in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Rain transforms the desert. It turns our washes into rivers, it makes our mountains green, and it creates fruits from the hidden fungi beneath the soils. This year the fruit of the fungi - mushrooms - showed their glory under the pine trees all over the mountains, including a large cluster of boletes at our cabin entry.
Last weekend we joined our friend Dr. Marc Orbach, a distinguished mycologist from the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona in the annual “Fungal Foray” to Mt. Lemmon to seek out the wide variety of fungi (and their fruits) that typically arise after a good monsoon season. We met in Bear Canyon with Marc’s colleagues from the school, Drs. Betsy Arnold and Barry Pryor, and about 2 dozen students, colleagues, and friends interested in searching for fungi in the cool pines.
The variety of fungi was really astounding, and I learned that categorizing mushrooms is a rather complex affair with professors and students often referring to the many guidebooks that were brought to the foray. Marc also acknowledged that they sometimes have to simply refer to some mushrooms as “LBMs” – little brown mushrooms. It reinforced our belief that this was not going to be a hunt for edible mushrooms to sauté later but rather an introduction to another fascinating aspect of the mountains.
That evening when we went back into town, we rehydrated some Trader Joes shiitake mushrooms and sautéed them knowing that someone else knew what they were doing in selecting these mushrooms to eat. It was amazing how good they were having been in our cupboard for the past few years.
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