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Intensive Care Unit VA Hospital

Challenge

Built in the mid-1980s, the intensive care unit (ICU) inside the Iowa City VA Health Care System facility had an aging ceiling plenum return-air system that allowed dust and debris to collect above the ceiling, potentially falling into patient rooms through the return-air system.
 
To reduce the possibility of dust and debris gathering above the ceiling, the hospital wanted a new return-air system that would fit into the existing plenum space. 

Solution

Shive-Hattery ensured that the plenum space was thoroughly cleaned, and designed and installed new ductwork to fit within the existing infrastructure. Onsite design work kept the project timeline on track and ensured that the new ductwork fit in the especially tight plenum spaces. To minimize costs, all existing supply ductwork and electrical equipment was able to remain in place.
 
Variable air volume (VAV) boxes were also added to two of the hospital’s isolation rooms, varying the supply airflow to each room to maintain the pressure differential between the patient rooms and the adjacent nursing area, the existing exhaust fans provided constant exhaust airflow for the isolation rooms. 
 
As part of the mechanical system upgrades, patient rooms were reconfigured to incorporate toilets in a new way. Instead of being tucked away in a wall-mounted cabinet, each room’s toilet is now easily accessible by patients and staff directly inside the room. By eliminating the original toilets, which featured a hinged design, leaks and other maintenance issues have been reduced.

Impact

The replacement of the Iowa City VA Health Care System’s ceiling return-air system in the ICU has reduced the potential for dust and debris collection. By designing the new ductwork to fit within the existing plenum space, and reusing existing supply ductwork, Shive-Hattery kept overall project costs down.
 
New ductwork installed inside a clean plenum space allows patients, staff, and clinicians to enjoy improved comfort and indoor air quality.
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