When the Blue Star Health and Wellness Center opens its doors in 2018 next to the Dallas Cowboys’ new world headquarters, it will usher in a new partnership between professional sports and community health.
“This facility is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between an NFL [National Football League] team and a health system,” said Danna Jensen, project manager. The partnership also includes the Frisco Independent School District (FISD) and hosting of high school football games.
The 300,000-square-foot health facility will be an 11-story mixed-use building on a 91-acre campus that will house outpatient imaging, urgent care, medical office space, a pharmacy, and a 25,000-square-foot ambulatory surgical center with six operating rooms. It includes a six-story parking garage and will house a street-level sports performance center that features an indoor/outdoor playing field, basketball court, and training, research and rehabilitation areas.
“This facility will cater to the training needs of athletes of all levels, including students, hobbyists and professionals, and will include both shared amenities and VIP locker rooms,” Jensen said. “It includes a large mechanical door that opens up the indoor field to an outdoor field, making it a full size indoor/outdoor football field.”
The Blue Star Health and Wellness Center is expected to serve up to 50,000 visitors annually.
WSP + ccrd, a WSP USA company, is serving as the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineer for the project, as well as the low- voltage electrical engineer. The firm is supporting several clients, including Perkins + Will, design architect; E4H, ambulatory surgical center architect; CBRE, owner’s representative; Baylor Scott & White Health, owner; Blue Star Development, owner; and United Surgical Partners International, ambulatory surgical center owner.
MEP design work began in May 2015, and the construction groundbreaking was held in June 2016. The project team is targeting a January 2018 completion. WSP + ccrd has been involved with this project since the pre-design stages.
The $98 million facility is located in Frisco, Texas, a city that Jensen said “is experiencing an explosion of growth, but currently has few health care facilities.”
The building’s glass and metal façade gives patients clear views and easy access to the outdoors, and provides views to activities within the campus. Exterior sunshades reduce glare for occupants and provide comfortable indoor temperatures. Trails outside the facility provide the public with a network of paths for walking, running and cycling.
The Blue Star Health and Wellness center will serve as a primary destination for sports medicine, specifically for preventing injuries and keeping people healthy.
“This is a high-end health care facility, particularly with respect to its finishes, light fixtures and other features,” Jensen said. “The challenge was to provide a project within the owner’s budget and timeframe. We were able to come up with solutions that resulted in significant cost-savings for the owners.”
One of those special features will be a cryosauna, which uses cold temperatures to aid sports-related therapy. “The equipment requires special consideration from an MEP standpoint, as well as two plunge pools – one hot and one cold,” she said.
Another challenge has been the integration of two separate security systems in the building. The core of the building has one system to meet one owner’s particular security need, while the main tenant had another system requirement. “The challenge is to integrate the two systems together, while meeting both clients’ expectations,” Jensen said.
The licensed ambulatory surgery center, located on the fourth floor, comes with its own set of intricate parameters from an MEP design standpoint, in order to meet the strict guidelines of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Through methodical placement of all of our MEP systems, such as an interstitial mechanical floor and carefully screened roof equipment, we were able to keep the building aesthetically pleasing without affecting engineering functionality,” Jensen said.
Jensen has focused on designing health care facilities throughout her 16 years with the firm. “This project is a new one for me,” she said. “Adding the sports performance elements into the health care mix has created an interesting combination.”
She said it’s interesting to see how excited people get when the “NFL brand” is added to a project.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of people and press snapping photos at the groundbreaking,” Jensen said. “That is quite different from what I experience at a typical health care facility. Regardless of the attention, though, it is always the health care aspect of a project that is what is most important to me.”
But she’s felt some of that excitement herself with the project and its potential impact on the community, especially since her children attend FISD.
“I get to drive by the facility on the weekends, point out the crane to my kids and say ‘Look, that’s mommy’s project!’” Jensen said. “Plus, it was cool being at meetings with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Jerry Jones Jr.”
The firm’s project team includes Jeff Black, principal-in-charge; Tom Holthaus, mechanical quality control; Amit Bhansali, lead mechanical engineer; Kenny Slaton, lead electrical engineer; Bruce Hicks, lead plumbing engineer; Michael Carson, lead low-voltage designer; and Frank Tupper, lead security designer; Jon Gunsolus, mechanical designer; Brandon Macha, electrical designer; Michael Scott, plumbing designer; John Edgin, building information modeling (BIM) manager; and Ronnye Toler, document control.
The team actively participates in weekly BIM coordination meetings to assist the MEP subcontractors in developing the coordinated three-dimensional BIM model of the facility to aid in timely completion of the project.
“This project is providing the Dallas office with an experience in mixing a sports facility designed to care of the needs of professional players with a building that will serve the surrounding community,” Jensen said. “The strategies developed and lessons learned through this project put us in a unique position to tackle mixed-use projects like this in the future.”
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