Client
Baylor College of Medicine
Location
Houston, TX, U.S.

Baylor College of Medicine Research Tower and Master Plan

Baylor College of Medicine is one of several medical institutions in the Texas Medical Center of Houston.

Fluor was program manager for a new 203,000-square-foot, 8-story building. Work expanded to managing all major capital projects on the campus.


Client's Challenge

The project had been shelved for several years. Baylor's challenge was to have the existing program and conceptual documents reviewed and evaluated to see if there was a better way to execute the project within the same budget.

Fluor conducted the review, updated the study, and performed value engineering that led to redesign of the building layout.

The state-of-the-art $100 million research and development facility addressed Baylor's need for increased research space and accommodation of technologies critical to biomedical research. The building, containing 125,000 square feet for laboratory research and 45,000 square feet for a vivarium, was constructed atop an existing facility.

In addition, there was a 23,000 square-foot main mechanical floor and a 10,000 square-foot cage processing area. The building interior enhanced flexibility and collaboration in research for new interdisciplinary programs including cardiovascular sciences, diabetes and metabolic disease, cancer, pharmacogenomics (response of individuals to therapeutic drugs), imaging, informatics, and proteomics (a branch of molecular biology).

In addition, a uniform identity was needed for the medical school campus. The needs and functions of research facilities, support facilities, and the utility infrastructure had to be identified. Results of the review were used to update Baylor's standards for the use of its buildings.


Fluor's Solution

Working with stakeholder groups, Fluor optimized the building program and provided direction for the design team, resulting in the equivalent of an additional floor at no additional cost.

The facility atop which the research floors were built was itself a vivarium, which presented a delicate challenge: the project could not interfere with ongoing studies or disrupt the animals' breeding cycles.

Working with the vivarium director, Fluor established tolerance thresholds and then a vibration and noise monitoring system. A text message was sent to contractors when thresholds were approached and when they were exceeded. In the second case, a “stop work” notice was issued immediately. Although the system was necessary, it demanded flexibility in constructing the building.

Fluor's scope expanded into program management of major capital projects on the campus at Texas Medical Center.

The team reviewed the needs and functions of the medical school, research and support facilities, and utility infrastructure. It then proposed projects, identified stakeholder groups; revalidated goals and objectives; developed programs, concepts, budgets, and schedules; and substantiated the need for each project. Accepted projects were integrated with the Campus Vision Plan, which defined a cohesive identity for the campus.

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Conclusion

The college had more research space than planned, and having led campus vision planning, Fluor reviewed the plans for cost, schedule, and constructability. The skills required for these projects are unique among providers of program management services.

The tower, now the Margaret M. Alkek Building for Biomedical Research, helps the college accommodate technologies critical to biomedical research and plays an important role in retaining and recruiting leading researchers.

Biomedical investigation involves years of dedicated study and pursuit of answers about human illness. The results - new clinical solutions, devices, procedures - are advances in health care that benefit the entire community.*

*From the Baylor College of Medicine website https://www.bcm.edu/. Used with permission.