New Sanford medical center construction on pace for 2016/2017 openingFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Many questions are developing surrounding Sanford's new medical center site in South Fargo has the project hit a standstill, or when will it be done?
By: Kay Cooley, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Many questions are developing surrounding Sanford's new medical center site in South Fargo has the project hit a standstill, or when will it be done?
Costly clay and soil issues are currently backing up construction, but Sanford officials say everything is still on track, and on budget.
From the surface, it doesn't look like much construction progress has been made here in South Fargo, but that's because of expensive setbacks popping up underground.
Donald Schwert – NDSU Geosciences Professor: "World's most fertile clays by far in here, but they also induce some of the world's greatest engineering challenges."
About 100 feet beneath Sanford's construction site lies water laden clay and soil.
Donald Schwert: "They're akin to something like Jello, pudding, they can sort of support houses and they can sort of support streets and they can sort of support buildings about this high"
But when it comes to Sanford's $500 million building project with 11 stories, 1 million square feet and nearly 400 beds.
Donald Schwert: "Those structures are so heavy, that if you were to plop them on top of these clays, they would either topple or sink"
So crews have been spending extra time letting the ground settle, and putting in steel support piles more than 1,000 of them, about 80 feet into the ground.
Donald Schwert: "Basically that medical center, it's going to be built on stilts."
Sanford officials and project engineers would not comment, but did say the project is still on schedule, slated for opening between 2016 and 2017, and on budget.
Sanford officials say there may be future changes to the project, but will let people know when and if that happens.