Baptist MBF Patient's Tower Implosion

Baptist MBF Patient's Tower Implosion

11/06/2005
The Loizeaux Group, LLC

At 6:45 AM on Sunday, November 6th, Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) felled the 21-story, 960,000 square foot MBF Patients Tower located at the Baptist Medical Center Campus in Memphis, Tennessee. This implosion followed just six (6) months after CDI completed Phase 1 of the project which involved the explosives felling of the 9-Story reinforced concrete Main Hospital Building and the adjacent, 8-story reinforced concrete Intern Building in a single implosion sequence.  

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The former complex was cleared to make way for the 1.3 million square foot Bioworks Foundation Research Park. The six-building research, incubator and commercial center for the biotech industry will take about 10 years to complete.

The MBF Tower’s history was a long and illustrious one. From it’s opening in 1955 to it’s closure in 2000, the Hospital saw 1.9 million patient admissions including, most famously, Elvis Presley. Not only did Elvis receive various types of treatment there over the years, but the hospital also saw the birth of his daughter, Lisa Marie and his untimely death.

Originally contacted in 1999 by Chandler Demolition Company of Memphis, regarding the project, Doug Loizeaux, Vice President of CDI, traveled to Memphis to review the project site and meet with representatives from Chandler, various and the Property Owner, The Memphis Bioworks Foundation. Over the course of several years, plans were finalized and the project schedule established.

Following a careful analysis of the structural drawings, CDI ultimately opted to use explosives on six (6) floors of the structure to enhance their control of the rate and direction of fall, as well as maximizing fragmentation of debris. Following Chandler’s completion of abatement/strip-out operations, CDI’s Project Manager and drill team mobilized to the site months ahead of time to begin the arduous task of drilling nearly 2,500 holes for subsequent explosives placement. Concurrently, Chandler Demolition crews began performing CDI-directed wall removal and in-building covering operations.

CDI’s 10-person explosives-handling crew arrived on site one (1) week before the scheduled implosion date to commence loading and wiring operations. A total of 921 lb of explosives were used, including 18,000 lineal feet of 18 grain detonating cord in the initiation system, alone. To ensure that air overpressure was kept to a minimum, the charges were detonated over 16 primary delays, broken up with smaller surface connector delays. The entire implosion sequence took 21 seconds. The dust cleared in several minutes, revealing a neat, 30’ pile of debris totaling roughly 240,00 cubic yards.

Chandler Demolition first estimated approximately 11 months for clean-up and site preparation, however, in light of the fragmentation of the debris, feel they can accelerate that schedule substantially.

As stated by Steve Bares, Ph.D., President & Executive Director for The Memphis Bioworks Foundation in his November 30th letter to CDI:

 “Your very thorough project planning methods and your work in conjunction with Chandler Demolition Company, Inc., under the direction of Geoff Wyonzek of Hnedak Bobo Group, along with our efforts by my staff led to a spectacular event for us to witness a flawless execution of our objectives. Clearly, you deserve your well-earned reputation as the world’s foremost implosion contractor; we feel most fortunate to have partnered with you once again to have produced such a successful demolition. Thank you again for your hard work in insuring that we were able to successfully achieve this next stop I the development of our research park.”