MARCH 2012

INSIDE STORIES
 
Joyce Fried

Construction Under Way for
Center for Health Sciences

The South Tower in the Center for Health Sciences (CHS) — which housed UCLA’s main hospital before Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center opened in 2008 — is undergoing long-awaited renovations to modernize the building and make it earthquake safe.

The million renovation project, which covers 443,387 square feet of space on 10 floors and two basement levels, began on January 2 with demolition and abatement activities occurring on floors 2-10. The project involves the construction of internal shear walls and other infrastructure upgrades to convert the former hospital into earthquake-safe research laboratories and offices.

When the South Tower renovations are completed in June 2015, the building will also provide safe workspace for offices and labs in other parts of the CHS that will undergo future seismic renovations.

“UCLA has been committed since the early 1980s to mitigating seismically poor buildings throughout the campus,” says Peter Hendrickson, associate vice chancellor for design and construction of UCLA Capital Programs. “The South Tower was a natural place to start because it is the largest building in the complex and was vacated when the hospital moved out.”

Although the upper floors of the South Tower have been vacant for more than three years, the building is located within a bustling 12-building complex that houses four schools, several institutes and a rehabilitation center. The complex contains approximately 26 miles of corridors and is the second-largest public building complex in the United States, after the Pentagon, Hendrickson says.

To control dust, noise and vibration as a result of the South Tower renovation project, construction areas will be sealed off by solid construction barriers as much as possible and crews have agreed to concentrate the noisiest construction between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., before most of the affected employees arrive for work.

“We are extremely sympathetic and empathetic to CHS occupants and understand that this can be a difficult time for a lot of people,” says Joyce Fried, assistant dean of the Geffen School of Medicine. “But we are poised to do everything we can to minimize inconvenience and to work with any department or set of individuals who have particular concerns.”

A website under development will include weekly updates, maps of the impacted areas, what to expect in the coming week, frequently asked questions and contact information, Fried says.