The coronavirus pandemic has made life harder for nearly everyone. For some, such as children and their families dealing with the effects of genetic disorders, life has always been more challenging. The Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation (MMI) is one organization that has been working for decades to make life a little easier for those children and their families in the Omaha area.
Miller Electric Powers Construction of New Munroe-Meyer Institute Facility
As a longtime electrical contracting partner with Nebraska Medicine (with which MMI has been connected since 1956), Miller Electric is proud to be able to power MMI’s new building, which will help it expand the critical services it offers to children and their families as part of its mission to, “be world leaders in transforming the lives of all individuals with disabilities and complex health care needs, their families and the community through outreach, engagement, premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.”
Dr. Karoly Mirnics, who is the Director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, says the building is the world's most advanced facility serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and that its completion is the result of a caring community, committed to philanthropy, and teamwork.
"We have an amazing, caring community that realizes no one should be left behind," says Dr. Mirnics. "This project was the result of teamwork, which is always the critical link in any chain of events. Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. There were no weak links on this project, and Miller Electric was one of the strongest. They care about their job, do their best, are responsive, and always listened to us. They conducted themselves professionally and courteously, and were always available to help and explain what they were doing."
Its new 220,455 sq. ft. building inside the former First Data building near the University of Nebraska at Omaha Scott Campus will house new programs, including the following:
Caring for Champions Program – a collaboration with Special Olympics that will provide vision and dental services as well as a weight management program.
Redesigned and Integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD) – where MMI will provide interdisciplinary care for patients.
One-bedroom “Apartment” – where occupational therapists can help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities learn hands-on life skills.
Additional features Miller Electric has helped provide commercial electrical contracting services for include a therapy pool, lap pool and indoor splash pad, as well as a gym and outdoor playground.
For MMI Project, Miller Electric Returns to a Familiar Building
When Dan Wiek, Miller Electric Project Manager, learned he’d be involved in the MMI renovation and expansion, he instantly recognized the layout and design of the facility. That’s because Miller Electric originally wired it for First Data Resources (FDR) years earlier.
“The venue itself was one of the original buildings in the Aksarben area that we wired up for FDR,” Wiek says. “It was neat to see all the Miller Electric stickers on the panels throughout the building. Working on the project with MCL Construction, we knew we’d have good plans, collaboration, and as-built drawings that we were intimately familiar with.”
The new building offers much versatility and improved access for MMI patients.
“They will have more parking, more space to help their patients and more amenities, all in one convenient spot,” says Roger Knobbe, Miller Electric Vice President and Senior Project Manager. “We’re happy to have two of the four floors of work completed and that the project is on track to be completed on time.”
Finishing a Needed Building on Time, Despite COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic can make project work more difficult to manage. Additional PPE and distancing needs as well as potential material delays can wreak havoc on a project schedule. Miller Electric General Foreman John Munch, who is the GF on the MMI project, says MCL and Miller Electric worked well together to keep things humming.
“The schedule for this project was very fast-paced. It included a complete remodel as well as an addition,” Munch says. “There are some really cool statues and a lot of LED lighting throughout the facility, inside and out. All of the work is happening at the same time, so there are four or five schedules to manage concurrently.”
Munch and the Miller Electric crew of about 30 workers on the job have collaborated well with MCL superintendents to complete work efficiently, something that is aided by Miller Electric’s BIM and Pre-Fab departments.
“Jason Prebble, our BIM Coordinator, absolutely shone in his work laying out the ceilings on this project,” Munch says. “There are a lot of hard drywall and wood ceilings. Without BIM, we would still be working on them, but BIM gives us every detail ahead of time. All we have to do is measure.”
Wiek adds that the way the work was scheduled helped complete it more efficiently.
“Each floor was broken into eight pieces. We moved methodically in a clockwise manner through each floor. Not having to bounce back and forth between areas and keeping loose ends to a minimum let the schedule flow the way it should and will result in an on-time completion, which is critical for this project.”
Knowing what the new building will be used for adds fuel to the fire to get the work done as flawlessly and quickly as possible.
“I enjoy all the work we do, but this project is special,” Munch says. “I feel very grateful to be part of it because I know many children and their families will benefit from it.”