Despite exceptionally cold and wet weather in December and January, the team led by Robins & Morton has made noteworthy progress on the construction of Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority’s new Tsali Care Center.
The mechanical and plumbing contractor Rock City Mechanical (RCM) and the electrical contractor BESCO have continued to move their way through the building. As of the end of January, the team has successfully installed all of the above ceiling and attic work. This leaves only mechanical and plumbing fixtures left for Rock City Mechanical to install. BESCO continues to pull wire through raceways and to the panels that will serve the power and lighting in the individual spaces. They are also to the point where they are installing final fixtures in accordance with the planned construction flow.
Cherokee Nation Construction (CNC) has successfully installed drywall on 95% of the walls and approximately 65% of the ceilings. They have framed 80% of the drywall ceilings and only the memory care and assisted living areas of the building remain incomplete. The drywall finishers have successfully moved through the staff spaces, first-floor skilled nursing rooms, and 50% through the second-floor skilled nursing rooms. Similar to BESCO and RCM, CNC is working its way toward memory care and assisted living spaces.
The roofing contractor Summit Roofing has begun shingle installation on the roof. They have successfully completed the installation of 100% of the sub-roof material and are now working to complete the gutter and shingle installation.
Kituwah Technology has pulled 80% of the low-voltage cabling for the entire building. Along with finishing the remaining cable, they are building the racks and infrastructure for the IT closets.
Johnson & Sons remains onsite, continuing installation of the building’s exterior siding. They have completed 90% of the siding in the future central courtyard, and have completed two additional walls on the façade, which are visible from the road.
Huskey Paint is following behind CNC’s drywall finishers, according to the planned flow of work. The painters have successfully applied the primer and first coat in the staff spaces and first-floor skilled nursing rooms. They ended the month by applying primer and the first coat of paint on the first half of the second-floor skilled nursing rooms.
Cherokee Enterprise has arrived back onsite to assist with exterior finishes. In preparation for the landscaping contractor’s arrival, Cherokee Enterprise is installing the roof downspout collection underground piping, which follows the entire building’s perimeter. Cherokee Enterprise will fine-grade the areas as they complete the piping.
As the building has moved closer to the interior finishes, the team was able to welcome Carolina Customs Installations, who will be installing the hard tile and soft flooring, as well as Merric Millwork, who will install all of the casework for the building.
The design team led by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture has been assisting CIHA and their vendor partners in coordinating procurement of furniture and equipment. It is critical to time the ordering and delivery of furniture and equipment to ensure all the pieces will arrive for the final completion of the building. The procurement and delivery coordination will continue over the next several months prior to the completion of construction.
December 2023 Update
Since October, the Tsali Care Center construction team led by Robins & Morton has continued to make strides in the development of the new facility. Favorable weather conditions have further facilitated progress both on the exterior and interior.
Huskey’s Paint & Design, having completed painting in the kitchen, maintenance areas, laundry, and central supply rooms, is now moving through the skilled nursing rooms. The team is also finishing up staining the heavy timber beams in the future community rooms, adding aesthetic touches to the facility.
Robins & Morton holds topping-out ceremony for new Tsali Care Center
Construction firm Robins & Morton and McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture invited Tsali Care Center staff, Tribal Leadership, and members of the CIHA Governing Board to join in the topping out of the new long-term care facility on Tuesday, October 19. The topping-out ceremony was held just one day shy of the one year anniversary of the ground breaking for the facility.
The topping out ceremony is a longstanding tradition that celebrates the completion of a building’s structure by placing the final and/or highest beam. It marks a significant project milestone, signifying the groundwork and countless hours invested, and honors the contributions of all involved construction professionals. In this case, the final element was a metal truss that has been signed by many members of the EBCI over the last two weeks. To celebrate the workers who have made the project possible, the ceremony was followed by a lunch.
The new building replaces an existing facility approximately three miles away. The move allows CIHA to increase bed capacity by 50 and to further consolidate CIHA services closer to the hospital’s campus, supporting the care continuum.
“So, when I think about the future of this building and what it means, it kind of hits me heavy in the heart that, again, we’ve got a place that we can truly take care of our people,” EBCI Principal Chief Michell Hicks said during the topping-out ceremony.
Robins & Morton is serving as the general contractor and McMillan Pazdan Smith is the architect. This is the fifth project that Robins & Morton has built for the CIHA since 2014.
“We’re grateful to have reached this critical milestone, thanks to the hard work of the trade contractors on this project,” Robins & Morton Superintendent Josh Farr said. “We know that this building will make a tremendous impact on healthcare in this community once it’s complete, and we can’t wait to turn over the keys next year.”
September 2023 Update
September brought incredible weather to Western North Carolina, and the Tsali Care Center project led by construction firm Robins & Morton made great progress.
The load-bearing metal framing contractor CCSI has successfully completed its scope of work. In the last week of the month, CCSI installed the remaining exterior walls for the future DaVita Dialysis Center, which will be connected to the new facility.
Owle Construction has maintained a presence onsite and it recently completed the foundations for the generator pad that will support emergency power for the new facility. With CCSI completing its scope of work, Owle Construction has started preparing for its last slab-on-deck pour.
The heavy timber contractors, Southern Timber Systems (STS) and Structural Wood Systems, have completed the columns and beams that will create porches for future residents to enjoy. Roof decking and floor decking are all that remain for this scope of work.
The mechanical and plumbing contractor Rock City Mechanical and electrical contractor BESCO have continued their work with a recent focus on in-wall and overhead system installation. They continue to follow Robins & Morton’s defined flow of work, and since last month, they have successfully completed the in-wall and overhead systems for four additional areas of the building. All standard and emergency power electrical equipment was delivered in September, marking a significant milestone for the project.
Cherokee Nation Construction (CNC) has ramped up its presence onsite as it continues framing non-load-bearing interior walls for the project. Team members have successfully framed and topped out eight interior areas of the project in coordination with Robins & Morton’s flow of work. CNC is also framing all non-load-bearing exterior walls for the project. They have begun framing these walls at the front entrance of the building.
Summit Roofing has successfully completed the mechanical pit roof and has transitioned to the pitched roofs over the metal trusses. This includes installing the coverboard, vapor barrier, and insulation that will ultimately dry-in the roof of the new facility.
The newest team to join the project is Kituwah Technologies. The team will build out all IT closets and server rooms, which contain the technology infrastructure needed to support all of Tsali Care Center’s future communication systems. Kituwah Technologies has begun building out the main IT room and has started pulling cable for all voice/data, television, audio/visual, intercom, and security systems in the first areas defined by Robins & Morton’s flow of work.
June 2023 Update
May was an active month on the construction site for Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority’s new Tsali Care Center. The construction team, led by Robins & Morton
, managed a steady pace through mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) activities while beginning masonry and structural steel, and setting load-bearing walls.
The mechanical and plumbing contractor, Rock City Mechanical, has now completed 98% of their underground plumbing, including sanitary and stormwater lines, as well as the domestic water piping that will serve the new facility. They have also completed 100% of the underground mechanical system. Moving forward, Rock City Mechanical is beginning to prepare for in-wall and overhead mechanical and plumbing systems.
The project’s electrical contractor, BESCO, has nearly doubled the previous month’s underground conduit installation, reaching a total of 40,000 linear feet. Along with Rock City Mechanical, BESCO is beginning to make preparations for the in-wall and overhead electrical system.
The masons, Cherokee Masonry, successfully started their scope of work in May, already completing more than 95% of it. Their scope includes concrete masonry unit (CMU) block assembly, which creates the structure for the future main electrical room, emergency electrical room, main water distribution room, kitchen, maintenance, and housekeeping area of the building. Cherokee Masonry will remain with the team in the coming months to complete an electrical generator enclosure, a future dumpster enclosure, and a firewall to meet the life safety requirements of the building.
The steel contractors also joined the team in May. C.M. Steel fabricates all the steel for the project while Hernandez Steel is responsible for setting and erecting the structural steel. C.M. Steel successfully fabricated 75% of the building’s structural steel, and Hernandez Steel erected the first steel sequence, which includes architectural steel that will be exposed in the future community and therapy room. This first sequence also includes the support steel for two of the three elevators and the future rooftop mechanical space that will carry the building’s mechanical systems.
The last contractor to join us for the month was Infinity Structures and Composite Construction Systems, Inc (CCSI). Similar to the structural steel contractors, Infinity is prefabricating load-bearing metal framed walls in Atlanta shipping them to the jobsite for installation. These wall panels will help carry the structural integrity of the building. CCSI is responsible for setting and securing the metal wall panels. Due to mobilizing the last day of the month, CCSI was able to stand up a few walls before closing out the month.
Overall, May was a successful month for the Tsali Care Center’s progression, resulting in excellent production and zero safety incidents. As the building construction progresses, the design team led by McMillan Pazdan Smith is in the process of selecting furniture, fixtures, and equipment alongside Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority’s project steering committee. These interior details are evaluated on several factors, including color scheme, comfort, cost, durability, flexibility, and infection control.
Photo note: In this photo, the construction team is actively digging the unbarricaded excavation. Upon completing the excavation, it was promptly barricaded.
May 2023 Update
The construction team for Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority’s Tsali Care Center, led by Robins & Morton
, has made significant progress on the new facility.
While the sitework contractor, Cherokee Enterprise, finishes the first phase of their work, the mechanical, plumbing and electrical contractors have moved quickly through underground utilities ultimately allowing the concrete contractor to begin the building’s foundation and slab on grade.
To date, Cherokee Enterprise has successfully completed 98% of all underground utilities. The last remaining utilities can only be completed when the building rises from soil so that the final connections can be made. They have also successfully placed 80% of the first layer of asphalt for the facility’s driveway and parking areas, ultimately stabilizing the jobsite and protecting the local ecosystem from improper storm runoff.
The mechanical and plumbing contractor, Rock City Mechanical, has completed nearly 80% of their underground plumbing including sanitary and water distribution systems. They have also completed nearly 60% of their underground mechanical systems. Underground mechanical systems are required in this facility to maintain the architectural aesthetics of the community room, rehabilitation room, and a friends and family room.
The electrical contractor, BESCO, has also made great progress in placing more than 20,000 linear feet of concrete beneath the building’s foundation. Because the building’s design maximizes ceiling heights within the given space, there is little room for overhead utilities. Through the construction and design team’s coordinated building information modeling (BIM) effort, the team rearranged the building’s main electrical distribution feeds and planned to place them under the building. Further, this approach allows the team to be more efficient, and safer, during the installation of the electrical systems. BESCO is now approximately 80% complete with their underground electrical work.
In the coming weeks, two structural contractors will begin working onsite. Because this building includes multiple structural materials – load-bearing concrete masonry units (CMU), structural steel framing, load-bearing metal framing, steel roof framing, metal truss framing and heavy timber construction –several contractors will be needed to manage the scopes. The masonry contractor, Cherokee Masonry, joined the team first and started laying CMU walls in the future kitchen, maintenance room, and main mechanical, electrical and plumbing distribution rooms. Next up is the structural steel contractor, CM Steel.
The BIM coordination team, including the architect McMillan Pazdan Smith
, has successfully coordinated and finalized the first-floor, above-ceiling mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. In the coming weeks, the team plans to finalize the second-floor coordination which will complete BIM coordination efforts, providing a clear roadmap for all utility installation and connections within the future building.
Jan 2023 Update
After celebrating the official groundbreaking of Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority’s new Tsali Care Center in October 2022, construction firm Robins & Morton
took the first steps in preparing the building pad for utilities and foundations in the new year.
McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, and their engineering partners, designed the two-story, 130,000-square-foot facility with 120 all-private rooms that include full bathrooms. There will be common living spaces, dining spaces, outdoor areas, and other gathering areas to encourage residents to engage with one another and their visitors. To support the health of the residents, there will also be rehab-therapy, adult day services, nursing and staff areas, and a dialysis center connected to the building.
During the planning and design phases, McMillan Pazdan Smith
worked alongside a steering committee comprised of hospital staff and CIHA Governing Board Members. Subtle cultural cues were incorporated into the design, including strategically placed Cherokee stone, heavy timber, and iconography that will be instantly recognizable by the local community. The committee challenged the design team to strike a balance between creating a facility that would feel like a welcome home for the tribe’s respected elders, while still having the prominence and scale befitting this iconic location.
The 32-acre site, located just below the existing Cherokee Indian Hospital campus has been transformed, as large hills have been relocated away from the building pad to a lower property across from Cherokee Cinemas. The construction team carefully planned and sequenced the filling, compacting and stabilization of the relocated dirt before wintery and wet conditions arrived. The dirt relocation, performed by Cherokee Enterprises, made it possible to provide a secondary access to Highway 19 for the future use of the facility’s staff, residents, and visitors.
At the same time, the construction team installed 1,300 linear feet of storm piping and 800 feet of sanitary sewer piping to serve the new facility.
A unique aspect of this project is that the building’s proposed footprint was filled with dirt from years of past projects, requiring the team to make the soil denser and more uniform before beginning significant sitework. To accomplish this, Densification, Inc. provided deep dynamic compaction services. The process included multiple passes of high-energy impacts created by dropping a 36,000-pound steel tamp on the ground from 60 feet. The shockwaves densified the soil, reducing the void ratio, ultimately improving the consistency and engineering properties of the soil. The process completed prior to Christmas and will create a viable structural building pad for the future facility.
As the construction team begins the new year, the mechanical, plumbing and electrical trade contractors will arrive onsite along with the concrete foundation crews to begin their work.