Collaboration and Top Quality on Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Alkek Tower Leave Lasting Impression and Inspire 2014 ASHE Vista Award

Houston, TX, March 20, 2014 --( The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Alkek Hospital expansion, constructed by the design-build team of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and HKS, Inc., recently received the 2014 Vista Award for New Construction from the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). Since 1993, ASHE has annually presented Vista Awards to industry professionals for exceptional healthcare design and construction initiatives.

“The Vista Award recognizes excellence and teamwork throughout the process of creating optimal healthcare facilities in this country, and our team is both honored and proud to have been a part of this award-winning project,” said McCarthy Houston Division President Jim Stevenson. “The Alkek Tower houses an exceptionally innovative and energy-efficient healthcare facility consistent with the standards of high-quality craftsmanship McCarthy is known for. We’re thrilled to have the outstanding work produced by our team honored on such a competitive national platform.”

“HKS is honored to have been part of such a collaborative team effort working with McCarthy,” said Norman Morgan, AIA, principal with HKS, Inc. “The client asked us to think outside the box when considering design solutions that would maximize the efficiency of this expansion project. This was accomplished by using creative structural cantilevers and making the exterior skin lighter, thus providing additional square footage for more patient rooms per floor and adding two floors to the original design.” Morgan also was part of the design team for the original Alkek Hospital, which opened in 1998.

The project, which created a distinctive and dynamic addition to the Houston skyline, was constructed to meet the current and future needs of both physicians and patients. The $240 million expansion added 12 stories on top of the hospital’s existing 12-story facility. The 500,000 square feet of space includes five inpatient floors, a pharmacy, facility support space, an observation deck and three shell floors with space for future patient rooms. Not only is a 12-story vertical expansion extremely rare, but building on top of an operational 12-story hospital is a significant challenge. Faced with numerous obstacles that ran the gamut from tight site space, minimizing noise, carefully managing infection control protocol, catastrophic weather conditions, active hospital operations and scheduling, McCarthy and HKS worked in close collaboration with hospital staff and other key team members to successfully complete this project on time and on budget.

For approximately two years, the project was a 24/7 operation, taking client service and client expectations to new heights, literally. This collaborative team spirit between the design-build team and MD Anderson allowed McCarthy and HKS to test various design and construction concepts to arrive at the most cost effective solution for meeting the owner’s goals and objectives for this project.

ASHE presented this project with the Vista Award during the Opening Session of the 2014 International Summit and Exhibition for Health Facility Planning, Design and Construction ™ (PDC Summit), on Monday, March 17, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.

About McCarthy
Celebrating 35 years of building in Texas, McCarthy is the nation’s eighth largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2013) and a leading community builder. At McCarthy, we’re just getting started. For 150 years, McCarthy has been building communities across America, both by constructing essential projects communities rely on, as well as by helping those who need assistance. An employee-owned company, McCarthy performs general contractor, construction management and design/build services for the following project types: healthcare, laboratory, biotechnology, bridges and highways, parking structures, entertainment, retail, educational, office buildings, water/wastewater, federal, port/marine, microelectronic, industrial facilities, tenant interiors and mixed-use project construction. In addition to Houston, McCarthy has offices in Dallas; Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and Newport Beach, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; St. Louis; New Mexico; Kansas City, Kan.; Collinsville, Ill.; and, Atlanta. More information about the company’s history is available online at or by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

About HKS
HKS is ranked among the top healthcare architectural firms in the world by Modern Healthcare and BD World Architecture. Operating from 27 offices worldwide, HKS focuses on innovative healthcare design, process and delivery. The firm’s award-winning healthcare architecture includes 2,000 unique projects representing 80,000 beds and 184 million square feet. HKS projects have garnered numerous awards and coverage in worldwide publications. The firm’s healthcare specialists are highly respected international speakers.
C. Pharr & Co.
Emily Chandler