Island Hospitality

Hawaii’s Only Full-Service Children’s Hospital Reaches Higher With Diamond Head Tower


Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children

On a small parcel of land, wedged between the busiest freeway in Hawaii, a preschool, a church and a 17-story parking garage, lies Hawaii’s only full-service children’s hospital — the new Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children.

The hospital opened in 1978 and hasn’t seen a major renovation in 30 years. In 2005, Kapi‘olani purchased an adjacent parcel of land — taking the existing campus from 3 1/2 acres to 4 1/2 acres — and began to determine what to do with the extra space.

“Kapi‘olani is the only full-service mother, baby, infant hospital that serves the island. The hospital simply cannot close. Opening when we needed to is a testament to the team that dealt with a seemingly endless parade of design and construction challenges.”

Dave Powers
Senior project manager, Rider Levett Bucknall

The medical center’s board hired Layton Construction to lead the construction team to demolish an existing parking garage near the intensive care unit and make room for the Diamond Head Tower — a 200,000-squarefoot expansion to the medical center.

“This was Phase One of a plan to eventually replace the entire facility,” says Martha Smith, CEO of the medical center. “We liked Layton’s experience with the healthcare industry and appreciate the insight they brought to the project.”

In February 2014 — after the demolition of the parking structure — construction began on the Diamond Head Tower.

All parties involved knew from the beginning that the location of the site — and its close proximity to neighboring structures — would be a challenge.

Besides a lack of staging space and laydown area, the urban environment meant more interaction and communication with neighbors and other interested parties.

“We did a lot of community preparation before we even started,” Martha says. “Layton participated in all of that with us. They came with us to our neighbors and made sure we worked through everything together to make sure things went well and offered as little disruption as possible.”

“We are very happy with the end result. The Layton team was great to work with, and we now have a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that supports our goal of providing family-centered care for our patients.”

Martha Smith
CEO, Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children

And this shared communication didn’t end when the building started. Occasionally during construction, the need would arise to meet with neighboring stakeholders and Layton was constantly standing with the hospital administration, answering questions and mitigating concerns.

“We try to get involved in every community we work in,” says Todd Hardcastle, project manager with Layton. “We try to understand their issues and try to have them understand what we’re doing. Good communication helps everyone feel better about what’s going on.”

Community conferences and neighborhood chats help, but when building at a hospital, internal coordination is key.

“We can never shut down,” Martha says. “We can never take a break. We had to continue to offer quality care and put the needs of our patients and staff members first.”

This 24/7 dynamic meant the list of team members on the team was — by necessity — a long one.

“We involved the team at the hospital — myself, our construction rep, head of nursing, head of security,” Martha says. “It was a big group, but each of them represented an area of the hospital that would be impacted and needed to be at the table.”

With hospital construction, the impacts can be a challenge, but the team worked through issues together.

“The fact that we were able to achieve the open date we needed to achieve was positive,” says Dave Powers, senior project manager with Rider Levett Bucknall and owner’s representative on the project. “Given the challenges of that campus and the nature of the healthcare environment — where a startle or a noise can have a life impact — it’s not easy.”

But it came from good planning for what you could plan for and an efficient, professional response when things happened that were unplanned.

“We had our weekly meetings, but we also had cell phones,” Martha says. “I knew we could call Kevin (Charves) or Todd and get a quick response on any concerns.”

Kevin, Layton’s construction manager on the project, appreciated the team-first approach held by all parties when unexpected challenges arose.

“We focused on fixing the problem and making sure the concerns of Martha, her patients and her staff were resolved,” Kevin says.

A driving force for the new tower was to move the intensive care unit to a private room model, as opposed to the open-air model the hospital utilized before. Babies, parents and staff members are already seeing the benefits of the new model of care.

“Our parents and staff are very happy with the new ICU,” Martha says. “Unfortunately, our newborn ICU clinic that we planned for 10 years ago is already too small. That’s life in a hospital.”

Efficient design and equipment selection will achieve annual energy and water-use reductions of 20 percent.

It’s not just hospital staff members and parents that are buzzing about the new building. Building Industry Hawaii (BIH) featured the project on the cover of its January 2017 magazine and industrial associations are taking note, too. The project earned recognition from numerous industry organizations throughout the state.

Besides the newborn ICU, the tower includes a pediatric ICU, an adult medical surgical unit, the rehabilitation services department and conference and training rooms. It also includes unfinished areas, which are expected to be built into a new emergency department/imaging and new kitchen/dining areas.

The Diamond Head Tower is a new reminder to the community — and the state of Hawaii — of the professionalism, level of care and devotion to healing the Kapi‘olani Medical Center has been providing for 40 years. It also indicates the facility’s willingness to adapt and offer the latest in medical care.


Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children

The new Diamond Head Tower features dedicated space for rehabilitation services, including an 8,000 square-foot center for occupational and physical therapy.

Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children

Side plate construction utilized in the building allows more window space as steel bracing is not blocking the view, giving more natural light to the spaces throughout the hospital.

Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children

The Diamond Head Tower was built in close quarters with a church and a preschool. Layton worked closely with church officials to mitigate concerns about demolition and construction near the children.

Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children

Design elements are geared toward the hospital’s pediatric clientele. This mosaic was modeled after local children’s and pediatric patients’ artwork.

Kapi‘olani Quick Notes

• The demolished parking structure was connected to the existing NICU and PICU, so Layton crews utilized vibration isolation mats under each infant’s bed and performed a surgical demolition and soft cut it away from the building.

• One of the lobbies in the new tower includes a projector that illuminates games on the floor for children to play.

• The facility features 96 private rooms in its NICU, PICU and Medical Surgical Units. These larger, private rooms allow parents and caregivers to stay overnight. Research shows that patients heal better and faster when families are involved with their care.

• The new 40,000-square-foot NICU is five times larger than the hospital’s previous space.

Layton Construction Locations

Layton has permanent offices in 11 locations, coast to coast.

2355 E Camelback Rd
Suite 800
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 840-8655

3160 Elder St
Suite 101
Boise, ID 83705
(208) 429-6740

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Irvine, CA 92618
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Suite 130
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 877-5993

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San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 626-9090

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Suite 126
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 209-7853
5401 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 681-0185

707 Richards St
Suite PH-1A
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 245-8680

4463 Pahe’e St
Suite 210
Lihue, HI 96766
(808) 245-8680

5409 Maryland Way
Suite 320
Brentwood, TN 37027
(615) 376-6217

9090 S Sandy Pkwy
Sandy, UT 84070
(801) 568-9090

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