The Susquehanna Health Tower Expansion is a six story 243,000 SF expansion of the Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center Located at 777 Rural Avenue Williamsport, PA. Together these facilities will encompass six city blocks about 15 minutes away from downtown Williamsport. The Patient Tower Expansion ties into both the existing hospital as well as the newly built Central Utility Plant. L.F. Driscoll officially signed their contract with Susquehanna Health on 12/30/2008 and was given the notice to proceed on 10/9/2010.

The project delivery system for Susquehanna Health Patient Tower Expansion is a traditional Design-Bid-Build with a negotiated guaranteed maximum price (GMP). L.F. Driscoll’s GMP with Susquehanna Health is set up with a contingency as well as room for negotiation due to the fact that the designs were not 100% complete at the time of the bidding. Within this GMP is also a mini GMP reserved for the Central Utility Plant that was constructed prior to the Patient Tower Expansion. The total contract amount for both projects is $82,297,101.  In addition to their GMP with Susquehanna Health, L.F. Driscoll holds lump sum contracts with all of the subcontractors on the jobsite. This allows them to properly manage the job while also protecting themselves as well as the owner.

This project will be completed in several different phases each of which are designed to maximize the amount of manpower that can be on the site at one time. Each phase of construction must be properly coordinated through Susquehanna Health to ensure that construction practices and actives do not disturb the existing hospital and its patients.  At the beginning of every major activity L.F. Driscoll is required to submit Interim Life Safety plans. These plans will alert Susquehanna Health to any major impacts that construction will have on the existing facilities. In addition to ILS plans, if at any point L.F. Driscoll is engaging in a practice that may produce infectious bacteria they must also submit an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) plan.


The Susquehanna Health Patient Tower Expansion project is a six story moment steel frame design with composite steel decks for the elevated slabs. The foundation for this project consists of steel reinforced continuous spread concrete footings that have a maximum bearing capacity of 4000 psf. These cast-in-place concrete footings range in size from 2’-0”W 32”H (CONT.) to 19’-0” X 19’-0” X 60”. On top of these footings rests four different types of piers (24”X24”-30”X30”) that help to distribute the load. These piers start from the core expansion and extend to the canopy. All backfill material for this project consists of PennDot 2A stone.

Like the foundations, the 6” slab on grade must also have a bearing capacity of 4000 psf. Elevated slabs on levels 2-5 are 5” normal weight concrete on top of 3” steel composite deck bringing the total floor thickness to 8”.  The roof on the other hand is 9 ½” and consists of 6 ½” thick normal weight concrete on top of a 3” steel composite deck.

Structural Steel on this project is fabricated in the state of Virginia and achieves LEED points for regional materials. All wide flange structural steel shapes for this project are ASTM A992. All other structural steel shapes besides the wide flange are ASTM A36.  Beams and Columns are typically W-shaped; however, there are a few hollow structural section columns on the ground level. The majority of the steel columns range from W14X61 to W14X211. Beam and girder sizes vary greatly due to the fact that some areas of the hospital require that they be much larger to deal with vibration. Vibration plays a very important factor not only when constructing hospitals but also when designing them. Sensitive areas such as the neurosurgery rooms located on the 3rd floor require a more secure and stable design than other typical patient rooms. In addition to increased beam and girder sizes, all beam to girder connections require full depth double angle connections to satisfy the vibration criteria put together by a third party consultant.

The major enclosure type for this project incorporates two different types of precast panels that work together with metal panels, windows, and a curtain wall to give the Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center a more modern feel. The white towers on the southern and eastern are enclosed with 6” patterned architectural precast concrete panels. The second type of precast panel can be found on the southwestern side of the building and is very similar to the patterned architectural precast panels. These panels are also 6” think and connected in the same fashion as the patterned architectural precast concrete panels. However, this type of panel is finished with a thin red brick faced veneer.

The curtain walls in conjunction with the many windows which encompass the entire building, serve the vital function of providing natural light to the patients. This wedge shaped enclosure can be found on the southeastern exterior of the building. All windows and curtain walls for this project are either made of 1” insulated vision glass or 1” insulated spandrel and framed with aluminum members. Glazing on the curtain wall will be PPG Solarban z 50 with a visible light transmittance of 4%. This type of glazing qualifies for three LEED credits which include regional materials, low VOC’s, and a high UL-rating. Even though the subcontractor is coordinating with the architect, it is the architect’s responsibility to design the curtain wall system.


Mechanical systems in the Patient Tower Expansion project are powered by the two megawatt cogeneration system located in the Central Utility Plant. Also located in the Central Utility Plant, are two 3300 GPM chillers and related cooling towers, three 150 gallon boilers, and related steam and hot water tanks. The primary HVAC system for the Patient Tower Expansion is a variable air volume with mostly base mounted centrifugal fans. The eight air handlers for this project are located on the roof and range from 24,000-63,000 CFM.  In addition to the air handlers the chillers for this project are also located on the roof and range from 180-24 GPM. The mechanical system also includes chilled water and chilled glycol system that cool the building. This energy efficient mechanical system achieves LEED points for performance. This building contains four mechanical rooms located on the first, third, fourth and sixth floor.


Like the mechanical system, the electrical system is powered by the cogeneration system located in the central utility plant. This system produces electricity by capturing and reusing waste heat to power the entire building. The power plant feeds the patient towers through a 15 KV feeder which then flows into a 3-phase 480Y/277 4 wire circuit. Like any hospital, electricity is the life line to many patients and must constantly be fed into the building no matter what. To ensure that facilities always have power, Susquehanna Health elected to install two 565 KW diesel powered emergency backup generators that are located in the Central Utility Plant.


Both natural and artificial lighting in any hospital play major roles not only in the recovery of patients but also the performance of the staff. By law, patients must be exposed to certain levels of natural light to give them a sense of night and day as well as facilitate the healing process. On the other hand, surgical areas must be completely devoid of natural so that doctors and staff don’t realize what time of day it is. Being locked off from natural light allows the hospital staff to work in a constant environment and also distorts their sense of night and day so that they can focus on the surgery at hand. All natural light for this building comes through the large sections of curtain wall and the many windows that make up the façade. This hospital has many different functions and with these different functions comes the need for different sources of light. Listed below are just some of the many types of artificial lighting incorporated in this project.

Operating Rooms       
4’ T8 Florescent
Owner furnished Exam Lights       
Typical Patient Rooms   
6” T4 Compact Florescent
6 ¼” Recessed Halogen
2’ Recessed T8 Florescent
5” T4 Compact Florescent Down Lights
Imaging Departments   
Prismatic Lensed LED Down Lights
Fire Protection

The Susquehanna Patient Tower Expansion NFPA construction classification is a Type II high rise building. Under this classification, this project must be fully sprinklered and meet a series of other specifications. The sprinkler system is a combination of a wet standpipe and automatic wet pipe with a 250 GPM outside hose. The design for this system complies with NFPA 13 for the wet pipe sprinkler systems and with NFPA 14 for combined standpipe systems. Visual and audio alarm systems accompany the sprinkler system to ensure all occupants are aware when an emergency is taking place.


This hospital is equipped with two different types of elevators that service staff, patients, visitors, and maintenance personnel. Located in the central core, three service elevators transport patients and staff. An additional space right next to these three elevators has been allocated for a future service elevator. Also located in the central core are three public elevators that transport visitors and staff. The last service elevator is located in the western side of the building and is used by maintenance personnel.

In addition to elevators, the Patient Tower Expansion will also have four stairwells that extend from the ground floor to the roof. This project also features three tubes that tie into the Williamsport Hospital and Medical Center. These tubes allow patients, staff, and visitors to freely move between the two hospitals.


When lives are on the line, having an effective telecommunications system is critical. This project is incorporates intercoms, CCTV,CATV, PA systems, Code Blue systems, nurse call stations, and multiple fire alarm systems into its design to coordinate personnel in times of emergency.






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This page was last updated on May 2, 2011 , by Adam Lasher and is hosted by the AE Department ©2010