Web Exclusive: ThyssenKrupp Elevator Supplies Palomar Medical Center


by Mark Wickens

Palomar-02The Palomar Medical Center Hospital (PMC West) elevator installation was successfully completed by the ThyssenKrupp Elevator San Diego office in July 2012. The center is located north of San Diego in Escondido, California, and operated by Palomar Pomerado Health (PPH). PMC serves as the primary provider for the largest hospital district in California. The new hospital building is intended to function as a hub for trauma and critical care for the district, as well as support its many outpatient clinics and acute-care centers.

The nearly US$1-billion PMC West is distinguished as a “Hospital of the Future.” The building was designed around new and emerging medical technologies. Architectural and structural design models were to accommodate and adapt to the rapidly changing medical arts and practices. In an effort to realize its decade-long vision, PPH enlisted the primary design team of CO Architects, DPR Construction and KPFF Engineering.

Palomar-04ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s Sales team, lead by John Swilley, received was chosen participate in the project. ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s project management and coordination team, facilitated by your author, was brought in very early in the design process as members of the design build team. The company’s contract included:

  • Three TAC 50-04, 500-fpm gearless (inverted) adjacent ThyssenKrupp Elevator 530 machines
  • Two TAC 50-04, 500-fpm gearless (inverted) adjacent ThyssenKrupp Elevator 450 machines
  • Three TAC 50-04, 500-fpm gearless overhead ThyssenKrupp Elevator 450 machines
  • Four TAC 50-04, 500-fpm gearless overhead ThyssenKrupp Elevator 380 machines
  • One TAC 50-04, 350-fpm geared adjacent ThyssenKrupp Elevator GD2 machines
  • Six TAC 20, hole-less roped hydraulic systems

Having the elevator contractor on the design team allowed for a more complete design of critical structural elements. The result was the ability to prefabricate those elements along with the rest of the building structure, thereby saving on subsequent costs of fabricating in the field.

Palomar-03Due to high specifications and building standards, hospital projects in California can be very challenging to any trade. During the design phase of the project, ThyssenKrupp Elevator was challenged to comply with newly adopted California Building Code requirements, requiring the company and the design team to reevaluate the products for compliance. One requirement was a revised interpretation of special seismic certification of critical elements in the building design with respect to building function after seismic activity. ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s engineering team enlisted Wyle Laboratories of Huntsville, Alabama, to perform the necessary testing and reporting. With further assistance from KPFF Engineering, testing and approvals were completed without impact to the original project schedule.

The installation phase went smoothly. ThyssenKrupp Elevator Construction Field Foreman Jeremy Towne, working under the direction of General Field Superintendent David Schafer, led the installation teams for the 30-month construction duration. No injuries were reported during the 42,000 hours worked.

Most who contributed their best efforts to this project have come to realize its planning, designing and building is a small part of a greater project to serve the community for many decades to come.

Mark Wickens has served the elevator industry for the past 31 years in such roles and capacities as construction and modernization project manager, safety coordinator and instructor, field construction superintendent, elevator safety consultant and certified conveyance mechanic/foreman.


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