Flexibility is Key to Overcoming Challenges

By Andy Fouss, PE
Principal – Assistant Mechanical Department Manager

For more than a decade, HAWA has partnered with Nationwide Children’s to help expand their hospital campus in Columbus, providing our full range of MEPT services for projects that include a high-rise hospital, clinical expansions, operating rooms, surgical centers, research facilities and central energy plants. This long-standing relationship has been a fulfilling one for us – we’re proud to be part of the team helping Nationwide Children’s provide exceptional care for the region.

Our latest project with Nationwide Children’s is a one-of-a-kind building that incorporates conference space and a dedicated technology space. This new conference/data center will allow Nationwide Children’s to host research and medical conferences, and also includes a fully functional operating room and other medical care areas where staff can perform procedures on mannequins and simulators to hone their skills, teach others and host interactive meetings. The technology space will include a new data center, office space and support areas to replace the existing data center.

As with any project, this one comes with its own set of unique challenges, which have been particularly enjoyable for our engineers to solve. The building’s dual purposes – conference center and data center – are at odds with each other when it comes to public access. The conference space will be designed to be open, accessible and welcoming, inviting guests from all over the world to participate in meetings and training opportunities. The technology space, on the other hand, will be highly secure and off limits to all but a few hospital staff. To complicate things further, the center is located right in the middle of major electrical, technology and mechanical utilities serving the West of Parsons campus. This building program required some unique problem solving, and our team has risen to the challenge.

In addition to the above challenges, we are working with a design team full of new faces – we have not worked with the architectural firm, structural engineering firm or other MEP engineering firm before this project. As engineers, we are fond of processes and procedures; we often get in a habit of doing things a certain way. Working with new clients and consultants requires modifying those processes and procedures, which is a great way of growing as a company. I’m proud of how our HAWA team is able to adapt to a system that works for all parties involved for the success of the project. Flexibility is an important characteristic in any engineer and positions HAWA as a firm that our partners can rely on.

When it comes to design challenges or learning to work with new project teams, what works best for you or your firm?

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