10 Years Later: VCU Health System’s Critical Care Tower

Leaving a lasting, positive impact in the communities we serve is at the very core of our firm. But what does that impact look like long term? We wanted to find out and decided to have an occasional review on the blog of major projects and their impact over the years. There’s no better place to start than VCU Health System’s Critical Care Tower, which transformed both the VCU Health campus and downtown Richmond, VA.

First opened in 2008, the facility is Virginia’s only hospital devoted to critical care. The 15-level hospital includes over 365,000 square feet and represented a $184 million investment. The critical care tower significantly increased the critical care capacity at VCU’s medical center and was the largest capital construction project in the medical center’s history.

Draper Aden provided surveying, construction stakeout, environmental, site planning, design, utilities, and transportation engineering services for the construction of this facility, including both underground floors and above-ground stories. The project also expanded the medical center’s critical-care capacity with new intensive care units for surgical trauma, neonatal, cardiac, neuroscience, medical respiratory, and burn center patients.

As the site of the former VCU steam plant, Draper Aden’s work included a comprehensive demolition and utility relocation plan as a part of site development involving re-routing of storm drains and sanitary sewer outfalls and coordination with the extensive foundation plans for the high-rise building. Site plans detailed the connections between the new facility, East Clay Street, and an existing multi-level parking deck, as well as a renovated Emergency Drive which remained in service during construction.

A decade later, the critical care tower remains an important lifeline for the Richmond region. VCU’s medical center remains the area’s only Level 1 trauma center. Medical staff saves lives daily in the critical care tower and it’s hard to imagine leaving a better impact than helping to support the incredible work of the VCU Health System team.