Wilford Hall Medical Center was to receive the first hyperbaric chamber facility of its kind in the United States, and our task was to ensure they were prepared to do so. The main concerns included the preparing of existing foundations, building treatment rooms for patients and taking apart an existing tilt wall building to allow for installation of the new hyperbaric chamber. It was essential to minimize the time the facility was exposed to outside elements.
We hired Jester-Quintanilla Engineering to design the foundation that would support the 50,000 lb. chamber. The budget did not allow for use of concrete pieces so we turned to a cost-effective alternative, helix piers. Our designer, Lisa Aguirre integrated existing ceramic tile walls into the new design to maintain the durable surface. KEGLEY’s subcontractors coordinated the connections of the new hyperbaric chamber with existing utility conditions. One of our objectives was to create a wall around it to resemble an entrance to a regular treatment room rather than an isolated chamber.
The hyperbaric chamber was to arrive from Australia, which posed a logistics concerns. The chamber was accidently unloaded in a Japan port, then when it did arrive in Los Angeles, CA the only health inspector that could approve the chamber through customs was on a weeklong vacation. Once cleared through customs, we began the process of taking the tilt wall building apart to receive the new chamber. Thankfully, our crane company was very flexible and considerate of time constraints.
The hyperbaric chamber at Wilford Hall Medical Center was completed on time and within the originally established budget. The Air Force was able to use the facility immediately. This project has allowed patients receiving hyperbaric treatment to do so in a more comfortable setting; they don’t feel claustrophobic or have to lie down on a hyperbaric chamber table, providing them a better treatment experience.