Healthcare Clinic

This project expanded an existing 120,000 square foot clinic building on the El Paso campus of the Texas Tech University Health Science Center, and, as described below, replaced the building’s HVAC system. 

The basement, first, and second floors housed several teaching clinics, a medical records area, a billing center, related Health Science Center Offices, and the student lounge.  The growth of the medical school required expansion of the building; so Texas Tech elected to add another 40,000 square foot floor on top of the occupied building. 

Texas Tech included commissioning in the design team scope of work.  As the mechanical/electrical engineering consultant on the design team, Bath Engineering Corporation was selected to act as the commissioning authority.  (Three of Bath’s engineers have been nationally certified as Commissioning Agents — two by the Building Commissioning Association and one by the AABC Commissioning Group.)

During the programming phase of the design process, Bath's commissioning team asked occupants of the building to describe features of the existing building that they specifically wanted included or avoided on the new floor.  The building’s facilities personnel asked that the mechanical system be provided with a better fresh air subsystem.  They went on to explain that the existing building’s fresh air system was inadequate and that the automated control system was dysfunctional.  This early phase commissioning process resulted in the redefining of the project to include the replacement of the mechanical system in the existing building.  That modification increased the cost of the project by over 50% and significantly increased the difficulty of design and construction because the building had to remain occupied during construction.  However, had the problem not been identified, the university might have wasted millions of dollars by adding an additional floor to a building that failed to meet indoor air pollution standards.

The ultimate design scope of work included the design of new HVAC, lighting, and power for the new third floor, and the design of new hydronics, fresh air handlers, and ductwork for the existing basement, first floor, and second floor.