Watertown regional medical center renovation and expansion

The new layout of the hospital allows staff to be accessible to patients in need while also providing private areas for staff to collaborate.


The new layout of the hospital allows staff to be accessible to patients in need while also providing private areas for staff to collaborate. Courtesy of: RTM EngineeringRTM Engineering Consultants provided electrical engineering services for an expansion and renovation project at Watertown Regional Medical Center. The 36,000-sq-ft addition to the facility was designed for accessibility while also keeping patient health and wellness top of mind. The project included additions to the emergency department, ambulance garage, helipad, and birthing center as well as renovations of a cafeteria, kitchen, and rehabilitation area.

RTM reconfigured the entire electrical distribution system to include a new 25-kV primary-looped selective secondary system, low-voltage main-tie-main redundant service, two 1,000-kW standby diesel generators synchronized to a common bus, and all new automatic transfer switches.

The new layout of the hospital allows staff to be accessible to patients in need while also providing private areas for staff to collaborate. Storage space for files and equipment was added to each nurses station. Sheltered patient drop-off and pickup areas were added for easy access and are centrally located to the emergency department, Wellness Works-a rehabilitation area-, and the elevator to the second-floor Center for Women's Health. The layout also provides comfortable family waiting spaces near patient rooms.

"Working as a cohesive team with the architect, contractors, and hospital staff, we were able to create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for patients and their families," said RTM Principal Tim Larson, PE. "We analyzed every aspect of the design and its impact on the facility and reviewed the budget at multiple stages throughout the project to ensure compliance; this is particularly critical within the health care sector."

RTM encountered many hurdles throughout the project, including combining two different electrical services into a redundant main-tie-main arrangement, reconfiguring the entire emergency power distribution system, and meeting the owner's request to provide enough emergency power to back up the entire facility.

However, RTM's expert engineers worked closely with facilities staff and the electrical contractor during the design process to ensure proper integration of old and new systems while completing upgrades to the emergency power system without compromising patient safety or satisfaction. This was all accomplished within the constraints of the budget.

This article originally appeared on RTM Engineering, a CFE Media content partner.

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