Aggressive installation planned for Maryland's largest mental health facility

Contractors have been chosen for an aggressive installation project at Maryland's Sheppard Pratt Health System (Towson, MD; www.sheppardpratt.org), a psychiatric services facility that provides patients with in-patient and partial hospitalization, residential treatment, and respite care.

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Contractors have been chosen for an aggressive installation project at Maryland's Sheppard Pratt Health System (Towson, MD; www.sheppardpratt.org), a psychiatric services facility that provides patients with in-patient and partial hospitalization, residential treatment, and respite care. The facility is Maryland's largest mental health resource, and the new building will be located alongside historic buildings at the site.

The hospital, which has a Quaker heritage, was built in the 1800s, but its central building was built in 1968. The campus covers 80 acres and includes a dozen health system buildings. The main building is 240,000 square feet from end to end, and the new facility will be 245,000 square feet.

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John Shirk, director of communications and project manager for Sheppard Pratt Health System (Towson, MD), and Craig Jones, field service foreman for Prime Networks, look over the layout of floor plans for the system's new building.
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John Shirk, owner of Allied Telephone & Data Corp. (Baltimore, MD; www.alliedtelephoneanddata.com), an onsite contracting firm that works primarily for the health system, says that the size and scope of the project was too big for his company. So, Prime Networks (Baltimore; www.primenetworks.com), has been chosen for the project. Shirk says the company was chosen for its pricing, number of certified Ortronics installers, and past work references.

Shirk, who is also director of communications and project manager for the health system, will oversee the installation. Contractors will have to establish connectivity between the central building's main equipment room and the new state-of-the-art hospital. The new building will cost $55 million, and $15 million worth of renovations will then be completed on the main complex.

The half-million-dollar cable installation project will involve 3,400 pairs of copper, as well as optical fiber, between the main building and the new hospital.

The project calls for Category 6 cabling that will enable high-bandwidth applications, such as telemedicine and videoconferencing. "We can't have anything inferior," says Shirk. "We have major patient needs, and the last thing we want to do is not meet their needs."

The installation will include copper and fiber for the backbone that will be used for card access systems, wireless devices, overhead paging and fire alarm panels. Optical fiber, which will be used for the facility's telemedicine initiative, videoconferencing, and security cameras, will be run to each of the facility's 11 telecommunication rooms.

The installation will include Category 6 for voice/data at the workstations. Once completed, the project will feature about 900 Category 6 quads (two voice and two data). There will also be 200 wall phone, 40 security camera and 20 CATV drops. In addition, contractors will install 3,400 pairs of copper for the voice backbone and 144 strands of multimode and 36 strands of singlemode fiber for the optical-fiber/data backbone.

"We need to beef up our backbone; that is the least accessible part of our structure," says Shirk. "We don't want to go back and add to it years later."

Shirk selected Ortronics/Berk-Tek's NetClear GT3 for the Category 6 cable. The solution features Berk-Tek's LANmark-2000 UTP cable, and Ortronics connectivity that includes Clarity TracJack and Series II modular jacks and outlets. GT3, according to the companies, is designed to surpass all requirements of Category 6 applications and optimize capabilities for future applications.

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Voice and data cabling transition from a cable tray to a work area conduit in the new building.
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"Ortronics best matched our needs for this project, not only from a cost standpoint but from the total end-to-end solution it gives us," says Shirk. "Our local sales team has been outstanding and will be a valuable resource throughout this project."

"Ortronics had a better fit," says Garth Nycum, senior sales representative for the project's sole distributor, Graybar (St. Louis, MO; www.graybar.com). "They had so much more to offer for this particular project."

Shirk chose Graybar because they could quickly deliver products on-site. "We like the product line; Graybar made sure everything was in stock and a day away," says Shirk.

One of the ongoing issues Shirk's team has had to face is abandoned cable. Workers are trying to identify and remove the old cable, some of which is up to 75 years old.

"No one knows how they ran those cables 60 years ago," Shirk says. "And cable has been continually added and added over the years. Once we have the abandoned cables identified, we cut [them] in segments and wait for trouble calls."

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