Project Showcase: University of Chicago Ophthalmology Clinic

The University of Chicago Ophthalmology Clinic is being expanded while remaining operational. The current mechanical, electrical, and fan systems are all being upgraded during the project.


Ophthalmology Clinic, University of Chicago. Image courtesy: RTM Engineering Consultants.RTM is providing MEP/FP engineering design services for the multi-phase expansion and renovation of the Ophthalmology Clinic within the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) at The University of Chicago. The existing 12,000-square-foot space, located on the first floor, is comprised of about half clinic space and half administrative support spaces. In order for the Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department to accommodate for future growth as well as specialty testing services, the scope of this project includes expanding the full space for clinical use. The existing clinic needs to stay operational throughout the duration of the project, so RTM is working closely with the architect as well as clinic staff throughout all phases to make sure there are no disruptions to daily operations.

RTM is upgrading the current mechanical system from pneumatic controls into Direct Digital Controls (DDC), which provides a more optimized approach to the space’s mechanical energy usage. RTM is also working directly with the University of Chicago to provide upgrades to the base building systems to replace the exhaust fans with Variable Frequent Drives (VFD), an energy-saving mechanism that allows the building’s system to run at variable speeds.

On the electrical side, RTM is implementing normal, critical and life-safety power to the newly expanded space, and replacing the existing nurse call system throughout. A new wireless Lutron lighting controls system was designed which will provide the facility with more flexibility in controlling lighting from room to room. Additionally, RTM is designing a new layout for overhead paging system, updating the card access security system, and placing cameras for proper coverage for the newly designed video surveillance system.

A particularly challenging aspect of this project concerns the plumbing design for many of the new spaces. The floor cannot be penetrated due to a ComEd vault directly beneath the space, so RTM is developing many unique routing options for the sanitary piping.

This article originally appeared on RTM Engineering Consultants' blog. RTM Engineering Consultants is a CFE Media Content Partner.


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