Images courtesy of McShane Fleming Studios


Fire Protection


37,700 SF


Fitzgerald Architecture Planning Design


The Hauser-Ross Ambulatory Surgical Center, located in Sycamore, Illinois, is a two-part building with a medical office and a surgical wing, both of which focus on ophthalmology. Within one building, patients can get routine eye checkups as well as see specialists for conditions including cataracts and glaucoma.

The biggest challenge with this project was that because the building included a surgical wing, permits were needed from not only the city but from the State of Illinois and the State Health Department as well. Timing also was a major issue as the client needed permits to be approved by August 1, 2014 in order to qualify for a loan, and RTM was brought in with less than a month to the deadline.

Having previously collaborated with the architecture firm, RTM Associates Kathryn Duytschaever, P.E., and Sheetal Patel, P.E., took the lead on the project, its tight deadline and the multitude of healthcare design specifications.

The mechanical design featured a constant volume rooftop unit on the medical office side and a variable air volume (VAV) rooftop unit on the surgical wing side to accommodate a thermostat and humidifier in each surgery room. HEPA filters were installed to keep the air as clean as possible. In addition, operating rooms with lasers needed supplemental cooling since the lasers give off an excess of heat. This necessitated the use of DX split systems in the design.

The surgical wing needed access to medical gas, including oxygen, nitrogen and medical instrument air, and required gas tanks with manifolds to regulate pressure. Since the sanitizing rooms required equipment that softened both hot and cold water through the sanitizing machine, the plumbing design involved a separate water heater for these rooms.

Due to the separation of space from the medical office side to the surgical side, two electrical services were brought into the building. The surgical wing required an emergency generator to backup life safety and critical equipment. The emergency system was designed diligently to ensure the safety of the patients and staff, and a nurse call system was designed to increase patient safety and staff efficiency.

As for fire protection, the building was zoned for the surgical suite side as well as the first and second floors of the medical offices. Although the pressure off of the main city pump changed throughout the course of the project, RTM determined that separate fire pumps did not need to be installed in each zone; however, a booster pump was necessary to accommodate the change. The fire alarm system was designed as a voice evacuation system to accurately communicate any emergency to the patients and staff.

The RTM team was able to complete what should have been a three-month project in two and a half weeks. They went above and beyond to ensure that not only would the client meet its deadline, but that the designs would not prevent any permit delays. The health department, state and city permit offices made no comments that needed to be addressed before the work could begin.