The Medical University of South Carolina has spent the better part of $400 million and six years planning and constructing a state-of-the-art children's hospital — a gleaming glass building on Calhoun Street scheduled to open to patients next month.
But the hospital isn't ready yet and builders are now faced with an unexpected problem: leaks.
After Hurricane Dorian skirted the South Carolina coast last week, bringing with it plenty of wind and rain, construction workers identified several minor leaks in areas of the building that are still under construction.
"The leaks caused no major damage and the cost of repairs will be less than $10,000," said Steve Wiley, a senior project manager at Robins & Morton, the construction company hired to build the hospital.
In 2013, MUSC leaders estimated construction would cost $350 million. The budget gradually increased to $389 million. The new hospital is being paid for with a combination of state money, philanthropy and federal loans. Local businessman Shawn Jenkins donated $25 million toward the project. The new building will bear his name.
Wiley said Robins & Morton has been working with an "exterior skin consultant" throughout the construction process to "ensure we have a tight envelope on the building."
The leaks, he said, will be repaired and retested and present no major long-term impacts.
MUSC spokeswoman Heather Woolwine underscored that the new children's hospital is still an active construction site. The hospital has not announced an exact opening date.
Woolwine said last week that MUSC still intends to open the building in October and she anticipated no delays tied to the hurricane.
"MUSC has not yet taken full control of the building, which is normal operating procedure for projects still under construction and awaiting quality control and regulatory inspections," Woolwine said. "Those assessments and any necessary repairs by our contractor will continue as we plan to move forward with opening the facility in October."
The hurricane made its mark at the new MUSC Children's Health R. Keith Summey Medical Pavilion in North Charleston, too.
At that facility, which opened earlier this year and cost $58 million, the new HVAC system failed when the power went out and the building switched to a generator.
"We are in the process of working with our vendor and insurance provider to cover any incurred costs and await a full report about why the system malfunctioned," Woolwine said.
All of the supplies and sterile instruments inside the operating room at the North Charleston building were removed and replaced. The room was "terminally cleaned," Woolwine said, and testing confirmed that all standards were met for reopening on Sept. 9.