ECMC Behavioral Health Center

Buffalo, New York

Owner: Erie County Medical Center

Project Value: $25 million

Completed: June 2014

Architect: Kideney Architects

Size: 36,000 sq. ft.

Our team members worked on this state-of-the-art, Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) and Outpatient Behavioral Health facility under a construction manager at-risk contract.

The new two-story building consisted of a psychiatric emergency room, outpatient mental health and drug dependency treatment center. The project also included 50,000 sq. ft. of interior demolition and renovation within the existing tower facility to provide 72 additional psychiatric beds and a 10-bed intensive care unit. The project expanded the existing CPEP facility with features such as a larger patient and therapeutic space, separate adult and adolescent areas, extended observation beds, and a fast-track triage area for prompt and efficient care delivery, case management, and referrals to outpatient programs.

The initial budget for this project was $30-$40 million. However, due to funding restrictions, the construction value was reduced to $25 million. Funding for the new center came from a $15 million grant from the Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law of New York and ECMC contributed $10 million. After procurement, initial bids were $2 million over budget. Team members produced $2.1 million dollars in value engineering items facilitating it to be re-bid and brought onto budget.

During construction, many challenges were encountered including the need to relocate existing power, fiber optic and storm lines out of the new building’s footprint. Additionally, grade beams were installed to span over existing water and storm lines. In addition, the new building construction was completed 25 ft. from the existing hospital’s emergency department making building access and material deliveries challenging. While work on the tower’s 10th floor created other challenges, such as many unforeseen conditions and encountering additional unforeseen asbestos abatement. Throughout all the spaces, all door hardware, plumbing fixtures, furniture, etc. were selected to meet the specialty behavioral health setting and reduce the risk of ligature.

The project was divided into seven phases to coordinate with other projects taking place on the campus. In fact, the new addition was completed to allow portions of the fourth floor to be moved over, in turn where the next phase of the interior renovations was to take place. In addition, the fifth-floor renovations relied on the completion of the hospital’s long-term care facility.

In the end, substantial completion of all phases needed to be coordinated and built on time to capture the HEAL grant prior to April 2014. Our team members successfully did just that. Work began in January 2013 and was completed on-time in June 2014.