Einstein Medical Center Montgomery: More than Healthcare
When a growing Philadelphia healthcare network sought expansion into the suburbs, it built a brand new, state-of-the-art, LEED Silver-Certified hospital campus in East Norriton, PA. By offering advanced cardiology, robotic surgery, a Level III NICU, and all private patient rooms, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery hoped to bring its well-known, highly accredited services to patients outside of the city, and make a positive impact on the community.
Accomplishing this goal required collaboration, creativity, and extensive coordination from the project team. Development on the former 80-acre golf course involved both on- and off-site utility and roadway improvements, as well as wetland mitigation and sustainable stormwater management design. In addition, two unique factors drove the design for the entire project – a massive gas line easement that traversed the site and limitations dictated by the helipad flight path.
The project team identified opportunities to reduce the costs of the off-site work and offered solutions benefitting both the client and the community. Bohler coordinated tirelessly with consultants, the gas company, the Township, and the County during design and through construction to keep the project moving forward.
Working With Existing Conditions
Three large pipes owned by the Williams-Transco gas company cross the site. The entire site layout, including utility and driveway crossings, was determined by the gas company’s specific guidelines for intersecting the pipes. Bohler adhered to the required clearances (the distance between the gas lines and proposed utilities) and ensured all crossings met the company’s standards.
Allowing for a Helicopter Flight Path
To support the level of services offered, Einstein wanted to incorporate a helipad in front of the hospital. Working closely with an aeronautical consultant, Bohler’s team considered height restrictions for structures near the designated helicopter flight path, including buildings, trees, and utility poles.
Creative Grading Solutions
In the early design stages, Bohler’s team found opportunities for cost savings with creative grading. Utilizing excess soil, the team designed berms to buffer neighbors’ views of the hospital. By keeping all the soil on site, the hospital saved money in export costs, while benefitting the surrounding properties.
Innovative Stormwater Management
Complying within the stringent stormwater requirements by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and East Norriton Township, Bohler worked closely with the design team to provide cost-effective, low-maintenance stormwater solutions. Since the existing site was mostly grass and sand traps, the proposed development resulted in a substantial increase in runoff that had to be mitigated.
Bohler’s design directed the majority of runoff to a constructed wetland basin located at the front of the site. By designing a natural, sustainable, low-maintenance habitat around the pond, the team found an opportunity to turn the stormwater management solution into an aesthetic quality that the hospital required. To promote its longevity, Bohler incorporated features throughout the site such as rain gardens, vegetative filters, planting island swales, soil amendments, and meadow grasses to filter rainwater prior to its discharge into the basin.
Designs That Improve the Community
To support a project of this magnitude, substantial infrastructure improvements were required, and Einstein would have incurred significant fees for its impact on the existing public sewer system and nearby roadways. When the Township presented opportunities to reduce costs and benefit the community, Bohler worked with the project team to design a regional pump station and 250,000-gallon surge storage tank on the site, allowing the Township to eliminate a smaller pump station that was failing. In return, Einstein was relieved of the tapping fee. Then, Bohler worked closely with the team’s traffic engineer to extend off site roadway widening beyond the project limits, again releasing Einstein from a significant fee.
Receiving the 2016 Montgomery County Planning Commission award for Excellence in Planning and Design, the Einstein Medical Center Montgomery project achieved creative vision, sustainable building and landscape design, and strong community involvement.
Designing an award-winning medical center from the ground up required extensive collaboration and creativity from the entire project team. From tackling external forces that dictated site design to offering cost-saving solutions for off-site improvements, Bohler found opportunities for Einstein to not only achieve their goal of bringing an unrivaled hospital experience, but to make a positive impact on the community.
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