Our environmental and geotech expertise helped reclaim a former Boston shipyard to construct LEED Gold Certified Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston

Project highlights

Client challenge

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital needed a new 260,000-square-foot facility to support the world-class care it provides patients. They had identified a potential 5.3 acre Boston waterfront site once part of a Boston Harbor shipbuilding facility from 1800 to 1974. The location would provide the hospital with access to the water for rehabilitation services, and beautiful surroundings for patients, families, and staff. However, the site was a brownfield so those benefits could only be realized if the hospital first undertook a significant remediation effort.

Although the project could have gone forward with an “activity and use limitation” classification, our client wanted to clean up the site to an “unrestricted use” standard. The client also sought Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for sustainable environmental and energy design practices. The client knew Haley & Aldrich’s work and had confidence that our team could provide the expert guidance to overcome the environmental, geotechnical, and regulatory challenges in order to build their state-of-the-art hospital.

Our approach

The Haley & Aldrich team collaborated with the client and other design team partners to evaluate various potential future scenarios and business impacts for each. This included defining what was important to the client for construction phase and ongoing operations as well as outlining potential challenges related to regulatory requirements, environmental remediation, and underground engineering issues that could impact the project schedule and budget. A desired approach and specific goals were defined by the team based on these evaluations, and we developed a plan to deliver.

We also tapped into our deep regulatory and permitting experience to help the hospital establish a positive working relationship with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our team’s environmental engineering acumen and working relationship with EPA ensured clear communication – reducing investigation costs and minimizing construction delays. Additionally, our team actively supported the client’s community engagement program by holding public meetings to explain the remediation and construction process in accessible, non-technical language and assuage the fears of concerned community members. The proactive community engagement strategy prevented interruptions and negative public perception that sometimes manifests during complex remediation and construction projects.

Preparing the site required removing 80,000 cubic yards of soil for remediation and foundation construction. The strategy included conducting remedial excavations concurrent with the below-grade construction to minimize both costs and community disruption. Ultimately, the soil remediation program returned the contaminated property to “unrestricted use” suitable for an internationally recognized rehabilitation facility and received significant Brownfield Tax Credits to offset the costs of remediation. 

The $225 million Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s new state-of-the-art facility opened its doors to patients in 2013. Despite the challenging environmental conditions, the facility met the clients’ goal of LEED Gold Certification. The facility handles 4,000 inpatient admissions, and 140,000 outpatient therapy visits each year. 

Value delivered

  • Remediated an abandoned, environmentally problematic site to “unrestricted use” so the client could build state-of-the-art hospital facility 
  • Forged a strong new relationship between the client and EPA, reducing investigation frequency, saving time and budget, and avoiding potential delays in project start
  • Engaged stakeholders early to maintain positive public relations and prevent schedule impacts
  • Supported the client in obtaining Massachusetts Brownfield Tax Credits, which significantly offset the costs of remediation

For more information, contact:

Lisa Turturro