"From a distance, the site of the new Martha Jefferson Hospital on Pantops Mountain looks just like any other construction site.
In a virtual sense, it's anything but.
Mortenson Construction, the project's contractor, is using cutting-edge technology that transforms flat 2-dimensional blueprints into 3D images. The model shows everything from pipes and duct work down to soap dispensers in patients' rooms.
Aside from being able to see what the new hospital will really look like, this program also lets architects change how things are laid out during the construction process.
"It's better to make those changes now on paper, and if we need to move an outlet or if we need to move a towel holder, we can do it now less expensively than we can later on when the whole hospital is built," said Barbara Elias, director of the hospital replacement project.
From the virtual world to the real world, this 3D technology allows workers to lay out everything in finite detail, which allows staff to have a glimpse of the future and see just where they're going to be working.
Staff at Martha Jefferson have a big voice in shaping what the finished product looks like. The 3D model allows them to nearly custom-design their work spaces.
"It gave me the perspective," said Susan Hunt, MJH's director of medical imaging. "Usually, you look at your big piece of equipment but not really anything else around you. Basically, that gave me that perspective of looking at the counter spaces, what was behind the counter spaces, the sinks, the hand-washing areas, hand sanitizers -- all your necessary things that go around you."
That insight allows construction workers to move light switches to where staff members wanted them. Otherwise, they would've been behind a computer. It's this input that officials hope will save people headaches while providing patients with the best care possible.
The new hospital is scheduled to open its doors for business in August 2011."