Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital

Location: Columbia, Mo.

Client: Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital

The Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital treats about 25,000 veterans a year. It also performs cutting-edge cancer and arthritis research. Burns & McDonnell engineers were charged with preparing expansion space for laboratories in an unusual environment: the hospital’s unfinished basement.

Architectural and engineering design for the project included new general research laboratories, new specialty research laboratories, shared functional and support areas, and associated mechanical/electrical spaces, restrooms and similar facilities. It also featured four levels of clean rooms — critical environments that require exacting design specifications, with levels determined by the number of airborne particles allowed in a single cubic foot of air. Mechanical systems included chemical fume hoods, laminar flow hoods, point-of-use exhaust extractors, and a specialized exhaust air system that blows air 40 to 60 feet high into the prevailing wind and away from the building.

Additionally, the basement space had to be hospitable to researchers. Open, collaborative design, 9-foot ceilings, glass doors and windows, and pendant light fixtures create a bright and well-lit space.

The radio-pharmaceutical lab is for researchers designing new radioactive drugs. Five investigators and 16 technicians operate in the lab, which features: hot cell lab/room (class 100 clean room); imaging lab; animal prep lab; tissue culture lab; large equipment room; NMR; two hot labs for radioactive materials; four cold labs; glass wash room; conference room; and offices.

The immunology research lab centers on tissue culture and molecular biology. Three investigators and 10 technicians operate in the lab, which features: camera dark room; microscope room; equipment room; open general lab; two tissue culture labs; two tissue prep labs; refrigerator room; a walk-in freezer; and offices and carrels.

The project received the Honor Award from the Consulting Engineers Council of Missouri for excellent engineering design.