Congestion Relief

Where slightly more than a year ago commuters driving past the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., saw only cranes and construction

Where slightly more than a year ago commuters driving past the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., saw only cranes and construction vehicles, a new five-level, 1,500-car, totally precast/prestressed concrete parking structure has emerged, along with a state-of-the-art cancer research center. Milton S. Hershey Medical Center serves as the primary hospital for the Hershey community, as well as a resource for the Pennsylvania State University medical school. Accommodating a teaching facility that stands to bring latest advancements to patients’ bedsides, the Hershey Medical Center project necessitated more parking space for a sizable increase in traffic on the Penn State University campus.

Walker Parking Consultants served as primary engineering consultant for the garage, designed by Payette Associates of Boston. Gilbane Building Co. was enlisted as construction manager.

After initial meetings with Gilbane, Nitterhouse Concrete Products, Inc., submitted a design with additional á la carte features, eventually winning a $7.77 million contract to produce and erect precast/prestressed concrete components for the 411,000-sq.-ft., four-bay structure. Since precast members can be manufactured in varying lengths and widths, the producer was able to supply input toward a cost-effective layout to achieve maximum loading and clear spans with minimal columns.

Precast erection began December 2006, and was completed within four months. Gilbane Project Executive Dennis Vance asserts, Even though some underground geotech and sinkhole issues put us a bit behind schedule, the rapid pace achieved in erecting the precast helped us make up that time.

From its Chambersburg plant, Nitterhouse supplied a total exceeding 390,857 square feet and 6,007 linear feet of precast product for the project. Included in the structure’s variety of components were columns, beams, solid slabs, double tees, column covers, shear walls, lite walls, spandrel panels, and stair units.

To match Medical Center campus buildings, Nitterhouse developed a custom concrete mix for exterior spandrel panels, column covers, and stair towers. In addition, the spandrel panels received two depths of sandblasting Û a light sandblast finish overall, with a deeper sandblast in the recessed areas of the panels.

Of four stair towers located within the structure, two are showcased as distinctive design features, especially when illuminated after dark. Payette Associates’ design provided a challenge for the stair producer, Saxonburg, Pa.-based Castcon Stone, Inc., which produced 17 stair units for the main parking garage.

The stair units were designed as a double-cantilever structure, each requiring minimal support while a second stair unit hangs from it. Integral stair landings rest on a tree column, with a small area on one side of the platform. Due to minimal available support, reinforcement was configured according to low-deflection criteria. Thus, Castcon’s ingenious structural design created a beautiful stair system complementing Nitterhouse Concrete’s architectural and structural precast.