Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center - PTSD, Mental Health Research and Laboratory Addition

Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center - PTSD, Mental Health Research and Laboratory Addition

CHARLESTON, South Carolina
United States
Ralph H Johnson VA Medical

TYLin provided design and construction services for a new addition to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in South Carolina.

The new Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mental Health Research and Laboratory addition expand mental health service offerings for the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

TYLin's services included civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and fire protection engineering and construction contract administrative services. The project was awarded to TYLin by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The fully equipped addition provides a new emergency entrance to the facility and includes laboratory spaces, mental health exam rooms, administrative offices, storage rooms, restrooms, and mechanical/ electrical rooms.  

Due to plans for future vertical expansion, TYLin’s design for the 16,000-square-foot, single-story, expandable structure required the installation of a foundation system and infrastructure for a five-story building. The design enables a seamless match to the existing floor elevations at all five floors. 

Project challenges included the project site, which is in a coastal hurricane wind and high seismic area. The building meets all current seismic and life safety criteria. 

The project was also located in an area with unfavorable soil conditions. TYLin’s design used piles instead of bearing-type foundations. Existing deep piles at the site were needed to help stabilize the soil but could not accommodate additional loading. As a result, the design needed to work around existing piles, as well as an extremely tight construction site. 

Although vibrations could be tolerated by the existing structures, the final pile selection and installation was based on large-diameter auger cast piles instead of driven piles to prevent excessive vibrations from affecting the surrounding structures and ongoing hospital operations. 

Project Highlights: 

  • All new engineering systems were designed by TYLin to be compatible with existing engineering systems. 
  • TYLin’s design used precast concrete structural framing, floor, and shear wall systems. 
  • The design of the laboratory spaces considered new fume hoods, laboratory work benches, chemical mixing stations, specialized laboratory plumbing systems, storage, and medical and laboratory gas delivery systems. 
  • Fire protection measures include wet-pipe sprinkler protection and compartmentation and interior fire alarm and detection systems. 
  • The ground-level connection to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center required modifications and renovations to existing adjacent spaces, walls, and windows.