LAC+USC Medical Center

L.A.'s Largest Capital Project Ever Undertaken
The LAC+USC Medical Center replacement project has received more than a dozen awards, from many different industry organizations, such as AGC, CMAA, AIA, ASCE, APWA, and others. These awards are testimony to the project delivery group’s teamwork and collaboration. Clark Construction was instrumental in this success.
Gerard E. DeZern, Project Director, HOK
Los Angeles, California
County of Los Angeles
1,500,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 

Built to withstand natural disasters and other emergency situations, the new 600-bed, 1.5 million square-foot LAC+USC Replacement Medical Facility includes an outpatient clinic building, eight-story inpatient tower, five-story diagnostic and treatment building, and a central energy plant.

The 334,000 square-foot clinic tower is the Center’s outpatient facility and houses a full range of specialty healthcare services. The clinical tower is designed with a concentric, bracedframe structural system. Its state-of-the-art HVAC system includes rooftop air handlers in mechanical penthouses with a variable air volume distribution system.

The Medical Center's inpatient tower can accommodate 600 patients, each in a private room. LAC+USC’s inpatient services include intensive and acute care units, obstetrics, and pediatrics. The 681,000 square-foot facility also houses general administration offices, women’s services, and a pharmacy. Both the inpatient and clinic tower are defined by an exterior of precast concrete panels, and glazed curtain wall with metal panels.

The 430,000 square-foot diagnostic and treatment building includes some of the Center’s most advanced medical services and construction technologies. This building contains the diagnostic imaging, surgery, core lab, and 24-hour-a-day radiology services. The building sits on top of a base-isolation system that can accommodate 22 to 24 inches of movement during a seismic event. 

Clark, in a construction joint venture, completed the new medical campus in November 2008. The sheer size of LAC+USC Medical Center, compounded with its civic significance and overlapping jurisdictions, required excellent project management to hit all milestones and ultimately provide a superior and innovative facility. The joint venture team faced, and overcame, the challenges of managing and motivating an exceptionally large workforce over an extensive period of time.


Although LAC+USC did not pursue LEED certification, sustainable features incorporated into the project building included:

  • Construction waste recycling program that achieved a 90% recycling rate;
  • Utilization of low-VOC materials;
  • High-efficiency boilers;
  • Sunshades on the exterior of the building;
  • Lighting control systems; and
  • Energy management systems.

LAC+USC’s single-story, 60,000 square-foot central utility plant sits below-grade and is a reinforced concrete structure. It is connected to the diagnostic and treatment tower by a 300-foot utility tunnel, which houses LAC+USC’s HVAC equipment, MEP systems, and fire- and life-safety systems. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems leading from the central utility plant have seismic restraints designed for forces associated with the maximum credible earthquake for this site. The central utility plant includes seven two-megawatt, 4,160v generators which, when tested, formed the largest 4160v, 14 megawatt test in California. In addition, it houses LAC+USC’s five electric and steam chillers, and five steam boilers, which run on natural gas or propane.

The facility support systems include two 45,000-gallon propane tanks separated and surrounded by blast walls, an underground 42,000-gallon oil tank for the generators, a 200,000-gallon underground domestic water storage tank, and a medical gas yard for the hospital’s needs. The facility includes a 75 square-foot underground Los Angeles Department of Water and Power two-grid, 34kv substation, reducing the power to the 4,160v electrical system. There are two dual-ended substations with tie breakers and bus duct for redundancy. The emergency power runs through transfer switches designed to shed loads in order to keep the most critical power functioning in the event of failure. The primary normal and emergency power was distributed from the plant to the three buildings through a combination of underground duct banks and bus duct.


During the planning phase for the buildings, the project team relied on 3D software. The team examined the coordination and created fly-by simulation for congested spots in the energy plant. This approach revealed places where ductwork and other MEP lines encroach on the designated clear space for the plant's roll-up doors.

AGC of California Constructor Award - Meeting the Challenge of a Difficult Job, Builder Classification
California Construction - Best of 2009 Award, Outstanding Project Management
California Construction - Best of 2009 Award, Healthcare Project
McGraw Hill Construction's National Best of the Best Awards - Healthcare Project
McGraw Hill Construction's National Best of the Best Awards - Teamwork/Project Management