The Interior Health Authority decided to build a brand new parkade because parking is a necessity with more than 2,000 medical staff traveling to Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) every day. "The parkade was designed to accommodate on-site staff parking because we had a huge 300 odd wait list for that site," said Interior Health Authority project manager David Fowler. Prior to the parkade's completion, "staff were having to park on the streets, which concerned neighbours. Some were even parking in the public lot because the streets and the (existing) staff parking lot was full. "After almost a year of construction, staff had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving as it was the first day they could park in the new $7- million parkade. 330 vehicles can park in the 105,000 square foot new facility, that includes five levels of parking - two at grade and three elevated - bringing the total number of available staff spaces to a little more than 800, with 475 stalls available in the pre-existing outdoor lot.
Security was at the forefront of Interior Health's mind when discussing the parkade's design. CEI Architecture used the metaphor of a lighthouse when designing the sandstone-coloured stair towers since lighthouses are seen as a symbol for safe passage. "We architecturally played on that metaphor by ensuring that the top of the towers would emit light," says CEI project architect Michael NcNaught, adding “Lake Okanagan can be seen from the top of the towers.” To improve light and visibility, clerestory glazing was used in the stairwells. This allows hospital staff to see and be seen when entering and leaving the parkade. The inside of the building was painted white. Round circular holes were made in the interior walls to reduce dark zones and eliminate blind spots.
Other safety features include a Chubb card read security system with intercom security stations, gated entry, panic buttons on every floor and 10 staff-monitored security cameras.
Before breaking ground, Interior Health held a series of meetings with area residents to discuss community concerns. "One of their concerns was light pollution from vehicles pulling into the parkade," said Fowler of Interior Health. "Also, now that everyone has these wonderful beepers to lock their vehicles, they were concerned they would be hearing that day and night. To address these concerns, CEI ensconced the parkade in a sea of greenery - planters of cedar bushes were literally attached to the outside walls of the facility, which not only filter light and noise but integrate the concrete structure into its surrounding environment. "We also designed the upper level with low level lights, so we didn't have big light standards with lighting reflecting on to the neighbours' yards," Fowler says, adding “the wood planked roof helps to soften the light. We used lights on bollards, which are about four feet high. They provide lots of light but keep the lighting down low." Concrete barriers were also used at key points to decrease the amount of light pollution escaping the three-storey structure when cars enter the facility at night.
Outside of privacy concerns, the site itself posed the greatest challenge - operations at the adjacent hospital were not to be disrupted. There was limited space to construct the facility. "Being as it's an acute site, we had to be sensitive to operating rooms and patients," Fowler says. "The method of ground improvement that was used, called rapid impact compaction, sped up the schedule and had the least impact on the surrounding properties.
From a noise and vibration point of view, it was very unique. According to Michael Hoffman of MKT Arkle Development Management Inc., who provided development management services, “it would have been extremely difficult to do the project without the help of Rapid Impact Compactors Ltd.” “Preloading didn't work with the schedule and traditional compaction, where you use a big heavy weight to smash the ground, was out of the question with the hospital being next door," says MKT project manager Hoffman, who was part of the design build team. "Rapid Impact Compactors has a RIC machine that does a more frequent compaction of the dirt, which minimizes disruption." The RIC impacts the soil at a rate of 40 to 60 blows per minute using a 7.5- ton weight. The drop height of the weight can be adjusted to between 1.5 and 4 feet, that allows the operator to minimize vibration when the site is in close proximity to other structures. Measured noise levels are approximately 88 dBA at 20 feet.
Once the site was prepared, Vic Van Isle Construction Ltd. began constructing the structure, which is a mixture of cast-in- place and precast concrete. "The cast-in-place elements, like the shear walls and the columns, were all poured at the same time that the precast contractor was preparing the precast structure offsite in Duncan, BC," said Vic Van Isle project manager Bruce Walker. "In fact, when the precast erector arrived on-site, the whole of the parking structure was erected in two weeks."
With the parkade finally complete, Interior Health is pleased it went the design build route. "Design build had a significant advantage with schedule over traditional design bid build," said Interior Health quantity surveyor Lyndon Thomas. "Once the winning team was selected, we were able to quickly move into the negotiation phase. (And) once the contracts were signed, the contractor mobilized his forces and completed all the civil and groundwork while the final design was being prepared." "We believe this gained us an additional three to four months over a traditional method of procurement," Lyndon continued. "In a construction market where costs were rising at a rate of two per cent per month, this saved a significant amount of money."
Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) Parkade Details
Split level parkade, total 5 levels – 2 at grade and three elevated
Total Area: 105,000 sq ft
Total Capacity: 330 parking stalls
Shear Walls and Columns: Cast-in-place concrete
Precast concrete components:
120 Double Tees; 650mm deep: 64,000 sq ft
L- Beams: 34 pieces
L Beams c/w planter: 28 pieces
Beams: 10 pieces
Spandrels: 34 pieces
Client: Kelowna General Hospital
Development Manager: MKT Arkle
Architect: CEI Architecture
Structural Engineer: Glotman – Simpson
Precast & Erection Engineering: QR Engineering
General Contractor: Vic Van Isle Construction
Precast Supply: Surespan Structures
Precast Erection: Surespan Construction