On May 22, 2011, St. John's hospital in Joplin, MO took a direct hit from an EF5 tornado with 200 mph winds. In order to best ensure continuity of service to the residents of Joplin, the challenge was to build a temporary hospital in eight months (the first of this kind in the country) to replace a 60-bed temporary mobile medical unit. Modular construction required foundations and site work to occur while the building was being fabricated in California, resulting in an accelerated schedule and condensed Owner move-in period. Because three different contractors were used for the building, utility plant, and site work, scheduling posed a particularly unique challenge.
Due to the accelerated schedule, a modular building company built 224 modular components in California, shipped them 1,500 miles to Joplin, and assembled the building onsite. While the modules were being built in California, a second contractor completed preliminary utility work and foundations.
Because of the tornado, FEMA contributed the site improvements through the Army Corps of Engineers. During the second half of the project, Northstar coordinated all three general contractors at once. Daily scheduling and communication were necessary to keep each contractor on schedule without impeding the progress of the other two. It was imperative that Northstar remain flexible and approach each phase of construction with the best interest of the Owner in mind.
In addition to getting the building in place, Northstar also managed a condensed move-in period for the hospital. More than 10,000 pieces of medical equipment were put in place in less than a month. With over 300 construction workers working around the clock in every part of the building, there was no room to store equipment or supplies onsite. Utilizing two nearby warehouse spaces owned by the hospital, deliveries were diverted and staged for just-in-time delivery to the hospital.
The new facility opened to patients less than nine months after design began.