- Summa Health announced it will break ground on a new $350 million medical facility in Akron, OH, on May 15, according to Cleveland.com. The six-story tower is expected to be complete in spring 2019.
- The focal point of the development is a $270 million, 300,000-square-foot medical tower that will feature a women's health center, private patient rooms, surgery suites, a conference center and a bridge to an adjacent parking garage.
- Summa utilized Microsoft HoloLens technology when designing its operating rooms for the new medical tower. The technology allowed staff and others to stand in the middle of a virtual room and point out problems in size, design and equipment location in order to help make the rooms more efficient and to save on the potential extra costs of reworking the design in the future.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are still working to come into their own as a practical construction-site tool, with most use confined to the design phase or construction management operations. Despite ongoing testing of HoloLens by companies like Gilbane, there are still safety concerns that must be resolved before setting anyone loose on a jobsite — particularly a multistory one — wearing the gear. One of those concerns is lack of full peripheral vision, but Microsoft is working to fix that issue.
Skanska UK announced earlier this year that it would begin testing an augmented realty hardhat, the Daqri Smart Helmet, as part of an early adopter program. The hardhats come equipped with a clear visor that can display 3-D renderings and receive remote instructions from offsite managers.
Contractors who are already using BIM will most likely be the first ones to implement tools like the ones HoloLens and Daqri offer, expanding on their existing tech capabilities.
Construction in the healthcare sector continues to boom across the U.S. The 38th annual Modern Healthcare Construction & Design Survey, released in March, found that despite uncertainty at the federal level regarding healthcare legislation, the construction industry is still enthusiastic about the future of healthcare construction.
Just last week, the University of Pennsylvania announced plans to build a $1.5 billion, 1.5-million-square-foot medical pavilion on its Philadelphia campus. Virtua Health System also has plans in the works for a new $1 billion medical campus in Westampton, NJ.