As the ground emerges from winter snow, two major medical facilities are beginning to take shape in Waconia.

On a hill along Main Street near Target, the shell of Twin Cities Orthopedics’ (TCO) new Waconia Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine building is rising on the horizon.

Meanwhile, at Ridgeview Medical Center, the Norman and Ann Hoffman Emergency Center is coming together on Maple Street on the east side of the hospital.

Ground was broken on both projects late last fall.

The 18,000-square-foot Twin Cities Orthopedics center will serve as a regional destination for physical rehabilitation and athletic performance enhancement.

The $18.8 million Ridgeview addition will double the size of the existing emergency room. The 23,000-square-foot remodel and emergency department expansion will include eight new observation rooms and four behavioral health rooms designed to better serve patients and staff. The project also will include space for cardiac/pulmonary rehab, plus a covered parking lot to provide better access and convenience for patients.

Both projects are on schedule, according to TCO and Ridgeview project managers. The TCO physical therapy facility is scheduled to be complete this fall. The new Ridgeview addition is expected to be done in fall 2020.

In terms of TCO building progress, all precast wall panels are installed. The building roof is 80 percent complete, so is 80 percent of the steel work. And the pool pit is ready for a pool planned for the facility.

Lot grading and parking lot preparation will start in May. The building will be fully enclosed and ready for interior work in June. When the interior construction starts the space will change rapidly, said TCO director of Facilities and Construction Keith Heimer.

Ridgeview building milestones achieved to date include demolition, excavation and soil work, footings and foundation, and a large first floor slab concrete pour. Upcoming work includes a roof slab pour, slab on grade and exterior framing, according to Sara Aulizia, director of Construction & Real Estate Development for Ridgeview Medical Center.

The harsh winter has been a challenge, but construction teams have adjusted work plans and employed innovative techniques to stay on schedule.

For example, with the TCO facility precast walls enabled construction to move quickly and for the most part was unaffected by winter conditions, Heimer said. Precast panels were fabricated off-site by casting concrete in a reusable mold, or form.

The form was custom made so the precast panels looked as if they were constructed from stone and brick in line with the architectural design of the building.

By producing precast concrete in a controlled environment, the concrete could cure properly cure and be closely monitored.

After all the panels were cured and inspected, they were transported to the construction site and lifted into place, then welded to plates embedded in the footing. Temporary bracing helps support the panels until they are welded to the steel framing.

With the Ridgeview project, the previous Holiday station site is currently being used as a staging area and project office for the Knutson Construction contractor team until the fall of 2020. Ridgeview does not have specific plans for the property when the project is complete.

While the TCO building is being erected on an open field, the Ridgeview project is challenged by being conducted right outside a working hospital. Progress has come with some noisy demolition work and additional traffic on one side of the Waconia campus; however, birth room patients especially have been entertained by impressive views of the construction work as it proceeds.

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