Primary Project Team:

Owner Ernest Health, Inc.


Structural Engineer


MEP Engineer

Fire Protection Engineer

AV/Security/IT Consultant

JBA Consulting Engineers
General Contractor MJ Harris, Inc.
Civil Engineer HMT Engineering and Surveying
Food Service Consultant Crupko Design Studio




The New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital consists of 40 patient rooms as well as a therapy area containing outpatient day treatment rooms, exam rooms, and a therapy pool. Support spaces include administrative offices, kitchen and dining facilities, and several conference and meeting spaces.

Large amounts of glazing are prominent in the southeast corner, which holds the facility's public entrance and training gym. This feature creates a visually appealing entrance and invites sunlight into the more public areas of the clinic, as shown in the elevation to the right. Additionally, exterior shading devices near entrances help shade vehicles used to drop off patients.

Patient rooms are laid out in a 'cross' design to maximize the number of rooms in the area, while still providing each room with an exterior view.


Codes and Standards:


IBC 2009 with local amendments

NEC 2008 with local amendments

IECC 2009 with local amendments


Texas Accessibility Standards

Texas Boiler Safety Law

New Braunfels Non-Residential and Multifamily Design Standards


Occupancy Types:

A-2: Assembly use, intended for consumption of food/drink

B: Business use for a professional service

I-2: Institutional use, intended for medical care

Zoning Requirements:

'Front Yard' Setback: 25 ft.

'Rear Yard' Setback: 20 ft.

Height Requirement: No height limitations

*Note that there are no historical requirements for the building.


Building Enclosure:

Exterior Walls: Three types of exterior walls exist in the facility. Prominent walls near the entrance use stucco and corrugated steel siding as exterior materials, while much of the rest of the building uses stone veneer on the outside of the walls. All of these exterior walls have 5/8" gypsum wall board on the interior side, and a structure of 6" metal studs and 5/8" WPC sheathing.

Roofing: A majority of the facility is housed under a reflective roofing system, consisting of a 1/16" white TPO membrane on top of a 1/4" protection board, 6" of rigid insulation. All of this rests upon 1-1/2" structural metal deck.

Tilted portions of the roof, including over the vehicle awnings, consist of 2" metal roof decking on top of 6" rigid insulation. A 1-1/2" structural deck supports these roof areas as well.

Glazing: All exterior glazing in the facility uses the same glass, which has a U-Value of 0.35 and a shading coefficient of 0.368. Almost all patient rooms contain an 8-pane, 6'x6' window using this glass. Steel frames the same glazing in the curtain wall systems near the main entrance. Below are photos of the curtain wall system taken during construction.


Sustainability Features:

Solar Shading: Large amounts of solar gain are avoided in the vestibule and gym areas by extended roof structure acting as a solar shade. This helps to reduce the large cooling load required for these spaces.

Roof Construction: The white, reflective TPO roofing system allows for decreased cooling loads by minimizing heat gains in periods of cooling. This is particularly important for the hot, humid Texas climate.

Lighting: Exterior lighting uses energy-efficient high-pressure sodium bulbs to limit total site electrical consumption.

Water Preservation: Low-flow fixtures are used throughout the facility, including in the patient rooms, to minimize the amount of potable water used by the building. This topic is of particular importance in the southwest, where water resources are scarce.

HVAC System: VAV units allow for savings in fan energy, while variable speed drives on hydronic pumps allow for reduction in pumping energy.


Structural System:

Gravity loads on the roof are resisted through 1.5" metal roof deck which rests on K-Series bar joists and wide-flange beams throughout the entire facility. Vertical loads are then transferred to hollow structural section (HSS) columns and finally down to 6'x6' square spread footings. The main floor is composed of a 5" thick slab-on-grade.

The curtain wall system near the building's entrance is supported by variably-sized wide-flange columns and resists lateral loads thourgh cross-braced HSS members.


Mechanical and Plumbing Systems:

Conditioned air is supplied to the majority of the facility from three packaged roof-top units that utilize direct expansion cooling and gas-fired heating. Air is triple-filtered and distributed to VAV terminal units that serve each zone. Most VAV boxes contain reheat coils that are served by two gas-fired boilers in the southwest mechanical room. The entire facility utilizes a fully-ducted return system. Kitchen and dining functions are served by a 100% outdoor air makeup air unit.

Domestic hot water is generated by two gas-fired, 130-gallon water heaters and distributed via two hot water circulating pumps located in the southwest mechanical room. Emergency domestic potable water is kept in a 500-gallon, insulated vertical storage tank.

A specialized pool dehumidification system controls the indoor environmental quality of the pool area while maintaining proper therapy pool temperatures.


Lighting/Electrical Systems:

Five dry-type transformers with a total power capacity of 272.5 volts distribute power to circuit breakers throughout the entire facility. Circuit breakers are served by a central, 1600-amp circuit breaker switchboard. A 1000-amp backup circuit breaker is also supplied for emergency power distribution.

Patient, exam, and therapy rooms contain recessed T8 lamps in a static fluorescent troffer with electronic ballast control.