Renovating a health care facility is detailed, precise work in the best of circumstances. Adding the need to keep the facility at full operations for the duration of the work, and the added infection-control requirements of a pandemic, the job becomes even more challenging. That’s what PC Construction faced when they began work on the Emergency Department and Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit for Southern Maine Health Care in September 2019. The facility opened to patients in October 2020.

Part of MaineHealth, SMHC  needed to increase capacity and modernize the Behavioral Health Unit without disrupting services, while staying mindful of ever-evolving behavioral health regulations. PC Construction helped SMHC with cost and schedule estimates, then the design team selected PC to conduct the work. Extensive planning and frequent stakeholder meetings ensured procedures for emergency communication, life safety, work area accessibility, campus-wide notifications, patient safety, and maintaining facility operations. These included Lean tools, quality-control mock-ups, infection control barriers, and off-hour scheduling for patient safety and minimal operations impact. COVID-19 restrictions meant design team members conducted virtual inspections and subcontractor support to maintain quality, schedule, and adherence to maximum safety for patients, facility staff, and workers.


Innovation was a necessity as PC Construction navigated a building that was more than five decades old, with very low floor-to-deck heights and in full use during the project. To avoid accidental flooding from the sprinkler system – which had to stay functional until after the new one was activated – PC installed emergency shut-off valves. Subcontractors researched undocumented infrastructure and temporarily froze water lines to install valves. To reduce construction traffic within the active patient facility, they built a stair platform and loading dock with direct access to one construction area, and a temporary entrance through an exterior wall to another. Patient bathrooms needed custom access panels with in-wall service valves. Roof replacement required significant coordination with existing duct and pipework and access platforms. PC kept water, debris, loud activities, and vibrations from disturbing the operating rooms and imaging department by staggering work hours, sealing the existing floor and wall penetrations, and pre-testing certain procedures to confirm that work would not disturb hospital activities. They provided alternate power and lighting during the necessary, multiple shutdowns, and temporarily relocated the 24/7/365 security office. minimize disruption and expedite the renovation.

The tight ceiling space necessitated an optimal, custom, chilled beam HVAC system.


Major demolition and construction occurred directly above active operating, imaging, and emergency areas, requiring extensive collaboration and coordination with SMHC to maximize safety and minimize disruption. PC worked with infection control to install and maintain negative air and infection control barriers, as part of the essential Infection and Risk Control Assessment program for constructing in an existing health care facility and misted to minimize dust. Adding to the usual imperatives of working in an active health care environment, COVID-19 meant contact between contractors and the health care population had to be minimized. Weekly meetings and safe job-site action raffles kept the safety of patients, staff, visitors, and crew at the forefront. The project’s extensive safety measures won unanimous support as one of PC Construction’s Safety Projects of the Year Award. Client responsiveness garnered words of commendation from MaineHealth, and the cooperative team spirit and flexibility prompted praise from the design team.

Owner: MaineHealth / Southern Maine Health Care

Amy Horstmann, Equipment Planning Manager, MaineHealth

 Justin Thomas, Project Manager, MaineHealth

Dennis Morelli, Director of Design & Construction, MaineHealth

Heather Beaupre, IT Associate Project Manager, MaineHealth

Wes Pooler, Vice President Support Services, Southern Maine Health Care

Scott Young, Manager of Facilities Development, Southern Maine Health Care

Michael True, Facilities Management, Southern Maine Health Care

Construction Manager: PC Construction

Eve Norris, Vice President

Matthew Skillin, Project Manager

Ed Hume, Senior Superintendent

David Manz, Senior Project Engineer

Dan Haskell, Senior Safety Specialist

Pam Greene, Operations Assistant

Architect and Engineering Team:

Margulies Perruzzi Architects

Kelsey Bridge, Margulies Perruzzi Architects, Architect

Mark Thomsen, Margulies Perruzzi Architects, Architect

Jason Costello, Margulies Perruzzi Architects, Architect

Fitzemeyer and Tocci Associates

Timothy Dixon, Fitzemeyer and Tocci Associates, MEP Engineer

Jason Butler, Fitzemeyer and Tocci Associates, MEP Engineer

Steve Picariello, Fitzemeyer and Tocci Associates, MEP Engineer

Gumpertz & Heger

Robb Evans, Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Structural Engineer

Alec Zimmer, Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Inc., Structural Engineer

Michael Niehaus, Array Architecture, Behavioral Health Consultant

Jeremy Souza, Code Red Consultants, Code Consultant

Chris Lynch, Code Red Consultants, Code Consultant

Jamie Hand, Cx Associates, Commissioning Agent

Rick Stehmeyer, Cx Associates, Commissioning Agent

Matt Napolitan, Cx Associates, Commissioning Agent

Key Subcontractors

Door Services, Inc. – Overhead Doors

EnviroVantage – Demolition

Hahnel Bros. – Ductwork

Johnson & Jordan – Mechanical Pipe and Plumbing

Kamco Supply Corporation of Boston – Doors, Frames, Hardware

Marathon Engineering Corp. – Seclusion Room Padding

Material Handling Sales – Specialties

Minuteman Security Technologies – Security and Door Control

North & South Construction Services – Ceilings

Northeast Firestopping Solutions – Firestopping

Optimum Building Systems – Gypsum Walls

Paul White Company – Flooring

Portland Glass – Glass and Glazing

R.C. Specialty Fabrication – Structural and Misc. Metals

Regional Electric – Electric and Fire Alarm

Simplex Grinnell Fire Protection – Fire Protection

Standard Waterproofing – Joint Sealants

Tekon-Technical Consultants – Testing and Balancing

The Pappas Company – Overhead Partitions

Trident Controls – Building Controls

Van de Graaf Painting Company – Painting and Wall Coverings

W.H. Demmons – Roofing and Metal Panel

Windham Millwork – Millwork and Casework