Last week, the Tacoma-Olympia Section of the ASCE recognized the newly opened Center for Allied Health Education (CAHE) with an Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award. The CAHE is a state-of-the-art medical education and community healthcare facility at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington, and it celebrated its grand opening just last month. A GeoEngineers team led by provided comprehensive geotechnical services for this marquee community project.
As the geotechnical engineering firm of record for the project, GeoEngineers worked closely with Bates Technical College, SSW Architects, Walsh Construction and PCS Structural Solutions—the official recipient of the OPAL Award. The $35 million, 70,000 square-foot facility includes community clinics to better serve both students and local healthcare needs. It offers low-cost health services to the community, and practical training for the school’s medical assistants, dental assistants and denturists, dental lab technicians, occupational therapy assistants, phlebotomists and nurses.
“It’s exciting to be part of a progressive design-build project with such an important purpose—and so close to home,” D.J. says. “I felt a lot of pride constructing a facility that will benefit our community and provide much-needed medical professionals for the future.”
The GeoEngineers team, led by Associate Geotechnical Engineer D.J. Thompson, suggested several creative cost-saving strategies during the project. An old building needed to be demolished before construction on the new facility could begin, and the team opted to keep one of the existing basement walls for temporary shoring and as a permanent part of the new structure.
The recycling didn’t stop there, as the team also recommended reusing crushed concrete from the demolition as structural fill below the new building. Our previous geotechnical investigations in the area also helped get the project moving quickly. The team was able to provide preliminary design criteria, develop costs and a schedule, and then fill in details with additional explorations as the project progressed.
“GeoEngineers was a critical part of the team effort and cost savings— devising a plan to use elements of the existing structure,” D.J. says. “There was great communication among all design personnel, DES, and Bates Technical College staff. We were like one group.”
GeoEngineers is proud to have contributed to this innovative facility that combines affordable healthcare and education to benefit the entire community.