News Release: McCarthy Building Companies Completes Construction of CHOC Children’s Hospital’s New Bill Holmes Tower Two Months Early

Media Contacts: 

Laura Mickelson (LM Communications); (949) 453-0851

Susan Garritano (McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.); (314) 968-3300                


Design-assist delivery, Building Information Modeling technology and strategic phasing has allowed CHOC to serve patients sooner than anticipated in its new leading-edge children’s hospital

Orange, Calif., (March 18, 2013) – Now that construction is complete on a seven-story patient care tower at CHOC Children’s Hospital, families in Orange County, Calif. have a bright new pediatric hospital facility to help children heal and feel more at ease when they become ill or injured and need specialized medical attention. Specifically designed for the care of children, the new 425,524-square-foot patient tower will provide leading-edge technology and advanced programs and services in a child-friendly, healing environment when it completely opens in late March 2013.

“Already a regional leader in pediatric care, now CHOC, with the help of McCarthy Building Companies and our construction and design partners, has built one of the most advanced, safest children’s hospitals in the world.  Within this beautiful, seven-story tower, which triples the size of our existing inpatient facility in Orange, our team of clinicians and staff will employ cutting-edge science and technology to improve care and outcomes for our community’s children, making their futures brighter than ever,”  said Kimberly Chavalas Cripe, president and CEO, CHOC Children’s.

Built to serve the expanding needs of the region, the new tower is located on the south side of the existing CHOC Children’s hospital site.  McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. of Newport Beach served as general contractor for the project which included construction of a seven–level patient tower plus a basement as well as a penthouse chiller room and helistop. Prior to construction, an office building and two-level parking structure were removed to make way for the new tower.

McCarthy also renovated 50,000-square-feet of the existing facility and supporting central plant components in the basement of the existing CHOC North Tower. This portion of work was completed in November 2011.

Designed to be one of the most advanced, safest children’s hospitals in the world, the state-of-the-art tower includes the region’s only dedicated pediatric operating rooms, emergency department, imaging department and laboratory.  Enhanced patient and family amenities include Seacrest Studios, an in-house broadcast multi-media center; pre-teen and teen rooms; patient outdoor play area; café and outdoor garden; family resource center; and meditation and prayer center.

“Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology in conjunction with the design-assist delivery method were used early in the design phases of the CHOC Children’s project to coordinate the tower’s intricate drawings for the mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) and other related systems,” said McCarthy project director Max Burcham. “This coordination effort greatly reduced above ceiling conflicts prior to construction and ensured that the systems were being installed in a timely manner and met all quality standards.”

“By using design-assist delivery and incorporating BIM technology, McCarthy and its team of subcontractors identified several critical discrepancies that could have been detrimental to maintaining the project schedule,” said Waldo Romero, CHOC Children’s Vice President, Facilities, Design and Construction. “Through this proactive approach, the project team was able to mitigate these discrepancies before construction began, ultimately beating the schedule and allowing CHOC to open its doors sooner to care for the children of our community.”

Another key aspect to the project’s early completion was the development of a phased construction schedule that took a great deal of coordination and planning with the project team and the hospital in order to implement the plan and minimize disruption to the existing hospital. “In July 2011, McCarthy put the six-phased plan in place enabling CHOC to open the new main entrance with access to the existing North Tower in September 2012,” explained Pete Plaza, McCarthy’s MEP Manager. “The remainder of the new tower was completed by October 29—approximately two months ahead of schedule.”

FKP Architects of Houston, Texas is the design architect and architect of record and WBSA (Wood, Burghard & Swain Architects) of Irvine is the construction administration and associate architect. The design team gathered valuable input from parent and youth advisory councils comprised of current and former patients as well as physicians and staff to ensure that the new environment met their distinctive needs.

As a result of this initial design research, the new tower boasts a visually stimulating exterior highlighted by a multi-colored glass skin, accented with colorful metal panels and a vertical beacon.  The exterior façade transforms at night providing a playful change in appearance.

In the building’s interior, the public spaces are infused with fun and excitement while patient floors are more subdued, creating a peaceful healing environment. Organized and consolidated for optimum efficiency, the diagnostic and treatment areas are planned around flexible room concepts that can adapt to future technologies and changes in treatment techniques.

Playful design elements such as wayfinding features in the terrazzo flooring at the elevator lobbies are incorporated in the hospital’s child-friendly interiors. Utilizing a nature theme, each level has its own flooring design element starting with earth and fossils at the basement and then changing to ocean and sea-life; beach and shells; insects and flowers; reptiles and vegetation;  sky and birds; solar system and planets; and finally space, stars and constellations in the elevator lobby flooring of the top level.

To support the hospital’s expansive safety initiatives that reach beyond those traditional to healthcare, the patient, exam and procedure rooms were designed with common standardized components and layouts. As an additional safety feature, new operational logistics were integrated into the design for: laboratory specimen collecting and processing, medication preparation and delivery, and material stocking and distribution, increasing staff efficiency and decreasing time away from patients.

In response to the community and regional environment, the building incorporates environmental health principles and sustainable building guidelines as recognized by the Green Guide for Healthcare, U.S. Green Building Council and state of California energy mandates. During construction, McCarthy minimized unrecyclable construction waste, maintained proper indoor air quality, filtered storm water/runoff and ensured that the subcontractors installed the specified “green” materials.

Sun/shadow studies and site lighting studies were utilized to provide an eco-efficient design. Some of the building’s sustainable features include: recyclable materials; low-emitting insulating exterior glass panels; light colored skin materials; green roofing; insulation isolation of skin materials; ozone protection/refrigerant selection; abundant use and optimization of natural light; increasing green space with healing gardens; low-emitting interior materials such as floor, wall and ceiling finishes; energy management technology; water efficient landscaping and irrigation management.

Other project consultants include: Jacobs of Irvine, Calif., Construction Manager; Thomsen Engineering of Industry, Calif. ,Civil Engineer; TMAD Taylor & Gaines of Pasadena, Calif. , Structural Engineer; and TMAD Taylor & Gaines of Anaheim, Calif., MEP, commissioning Engineer. Major subcontractors involved in the Design/Assist process include: Bergelectric, PPMC (Pan Pacific Murray Co. a Joint Venture), Caparelli-KHS&S, Tower Glass and Schuff Steel.


About CHOC Children’s

About CHOC Children’s: Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2012-2013), CHOC Children’s is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional healthcare network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence – The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes. CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.


About McCarthy

Recognized as one of the nation’s few true builders, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the largest healthcare facilities builder in California (ENR California, July 2012) and the largest general building contractor in California (ENR California, July 2012).  The company is committed to the construction of high performance green buildings; progressive job site technology; and safer, faster and more cost-effective execution. In addition to Newport Beach, McCarthy has offices in San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; St. Louis; Collinsville, Ill.; Dallas; Houston and Atlanta. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.  More information about the company is available online at

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