O’Donnell & Naccarato Wins NCSEA’s Outstanding Project Award for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Proton Therapy Center
Dozens of structural engineering firms from around the country gathered in Saint Louis earlier this month for the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations’ annual Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards banquet. O’Donnell & Naccarato’s Vice President accepted the Outstanding Project Award for New Buildings under $10 Million. The award recognizes O’Donnell & Naccarato’s structural engineering design role on Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s new Proton Therapy Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Challenged by the confined site, deep excavation, radiation shielding requirements and the tight tolerances of the medical equipment, the project team incorporated several unconventional solutions into the center’s design. Through constant coordination with the design assist construction team, as well as the use of Autodesk’s Revit Structure building information modeling software, O’Donnell & Naccarato was able to deliver an efficient structural design of high complexity in a small 4,900 SF footprint 40 feet below the ground.
The center is designed to house two proton therapy treatment machines, which emit positively charged atomic particles that can be focused precisely on small cancerous tumors and lesions, without harming the surrounding, healthy tissue. Due to adjacencies with the existing building, neighboring properties and a busy thoroughfare, the construction required an unusually deep excavation of 40'. Various technical innovations were incorporated in the concrete and steel design to counter massive hydrostatic forces and meet strict requirements for the implementation of precision medical equipment. The treatment floor utilizes a notched cantilevered concrete slab which allows the medical equipment to rotate 180 degrees from directly below to directly above the patient. To avoid interfering with the motion of the rotating cyclotron and counterweight assembly, the team designed a hung catwalk system that allows for equipment maintenance within the treatment room vault.
“Out of pure necessity to meet the atypical design challenges, the Robert Wood University Hospital Proton Therapy Center project brought the absolute best qualities out of our team and produced innovations which we apply on all proton projects. I’m honored by NCSEA and the national engineering community for acknowledging our efforts," said Anthony Naccarato, PE, SECB.