A topping-out ceremony has been held to mark an important point in the development of Milton Keynes University Hospital’s (MKUH) new radiotherapy centre.
On Tuesday, May 4th, guests from the project’s key stakeholders, including MKUH, Oxford University Hospitals, Morgan Sindall Construction and Milton Keynes Council, visited the site to commemorate the final beam being placed in the radiotherapy centre’s structural framework.
During the event, attendees were welcomed by MKUH CEO Joe Harrison and Morgan Sindall Area Director David Rowsell. Guests then heard from Sally Burnie, Head of Cancer Services and Lead Cancer Nurse at MKUH, and Melanie Beck, Chief Executive at My Milton Keynes BID, who is a past patient and donor. Attendees were invited to sign a major feature of the build – the bunker that will house the linear accelerator (LINAC) treatment suites.
Morgan Sindall’s Northern Home Counties business was selected by MKUH to oversee the construction of the multi-million project, which will connect to the hospital’s recently opened Cancer Centre via a link corridor. The project was procured via the Pagabo national framework for major construction works and it is expected to be completed by spring 2024 and open to patients in late summer of the same year.
The new, two-floor facility will improve access to radiotherapy for patients who currently must travel to other hospitals in the region to receive this treatment. When complete, the centre will house two state-of-the-art medical LINAC bunkers and will include a main reception, consultation rooms and a CT scanner area. The services in the Radiotherapy Centre will be run by Oxford University Hospitals.
The specialised nature of the project has presented several unique construction challenges, for which the tier one contractor devised tailored solutions in line with its Intelligent Solutions approach to construction. This included the need to create 2.6m thick concrete walls and a 1.4m thick roof to prevent radiation leakage from the onsite radiotherapy equipment. Due to the size of the walls and complexity of applying this quantity of concrete, a schedule of long pours was designed so that the thickness is achieved without compromising the quality of the concrete structure. 90 tonnes of steel have been used in the roof slab alone.
As it stands, steel frame blocks one and two have been erected, with external wall lining now taking shape following the steel frame’s completion. The bunker walls were poured in 11 stages and were completed at the beginning of April, with the roof works commencing at the beginning of May. Morgan Sindall plan to have completed the roof pour in June.
To guarantee a smooth building process, Morgan Sindall has also accounted for several logistical factors. This has included extensive material delivery preparations to avoid undue inconvenience to the hospital’s patients and staff. Materials will be brought through the rear of the building, bypassing the front of the hospital where the new unit will be located, as this is an important access point for the adjoining cancer centre, its drop off-point, car park and nearby energy facilities.
David Rowsell, Northern Home Counties area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Today’s topping out ceremony is a great opportunity to look forward and understand how this new centre will provide an exceptionally valuable medical asset for the Milton Keynes’ area for many years to come.”
“The close and collaborative working relationship that we’ve continued to enjoy with Milton Keynes University Hospital has been a central aspect of the development and has ensured that this new facility and the local community benefit from an advanced design and a streamlined construction process.”
MKUH, Chief Executive Officer, Joe Harrison, said: “We are delighted to be able to come together today to celebrate this key moment in the Radiotherapy Centre build. It has been a great opportunity to highlight the importance of the new facility, which will offer radiotherapy treatment much closer to home for many patients. It will be a very welcomed addition to the current cancer care services we provide in Milton Keynes, and we would like to thank our partners, benefactors, and the community for their tremendous and ongoing support in delivering this new service.”