Shawnee Mission Medical Center

United Excel relaunches as StructSure Projects

The national general contractor formerly known as United Excel Corporation has relaunched as StructSure Projects. The firm founded in 1994 will build on its strength in the healthcare market and grow its presence in office and other diverse spaces.

“Healthcare is our main lane, but there is a desire to diversify and pursue other markets such as higher education, Class A office, and laboratory and pharmaceutical space,” said StructSure President Dennis Burns, who is leading the local market launch. “Healthcare is our bread and butter and what we are known for, but we still are going to look to expand into other sectors.”

“Our team is ready to put its expertise and drive for excellence to work in their own backyard,” Owner Kevin Rogers added. “StructSure Projects is motivated to perform at the highest level by offering certainty in quality of work and schedule.”

The company will retain all the history, experience and talent in its project management team. Recent projects include a new Hybrid OR at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, now AdventHealth, and the firm is currently working on projects for Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Children’s Mercy Hospital, and Menorah Medical Center.

"We have new energy and a new vision and it was the right time to rebrand and differentiate ourselves from the competition," Burns said. “We are still the same firm, just with a new look and feel."

Kelly Construction Group expands reach, builds new headquarters

The Great Recession may have dried up projects and forced many general contractors out of business, but it also created an opportunity for Scott Kelly, Jason Betts and Travis Lourens. The trio worked together before the downturn and were determined to leverage their respective expertise and positive relationships into a new, diverse construction company.

“Things started slowing down and the economy slowed to the point that you had to recreate your business a bit and make sure you were staying in relationship with your clients,” said Scott Kelly, president of Kelly Construction Group, Inc. “So we started talking about how we could take our existing customer base, maintain those relationships and work through a difficult time with the expectation it was going to pick back up.”

The former colleagues launched Kelly Construction Group in 2011, blending Scott’s healthcare expertise with Travis’ municipal and government experience and Jason’s book of business that included developers, retailers and hospitality groups. That decision has paid off, with 2 million square feet currently under construction and the company on target to reach its most recent five-year master plan goals in half the time.

“Establishing and maintaining and nurturing relationships, that’s the key. We’re not going to be everything to everyone, but our company is the right size for a lot of projects—not too small but not too big,” Lourens said. “We are schedule driven and we expect people who work for us to be part of our team and be committed to the same goals.”

Kelly Construction has landed projects for top companies such as Cerner, KCP&L, Merck and UMB, as well as just about every metro-area hospital group including Saint Luke’s Health System, KU Medical Center, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, and HCA.

In the past two years, Kelly Construction has almost doubled its headcount to 36, prompting it to build a new 20,000-square foot corporate office in Grandview’s SouthPointe Business Park. Recent projects include the conversion of 650,000 square feet of office space for Cerner in South Kansas City, more than 250,000-square feet of tenant improvements for Lee’s Summit’s Summit Technology Campus, and a new parking garage for Shawnee Mission Medical Center, as well as the upscale The Monarch Bar on the Country Club Plaza.

“The Monarch was the first notable project for this type of venue in many years that wasn’t a chain. It’s more of a boutique, standalone space with high-end finishes,” Betts said. “The architect (David Manica) had a vision and he felt we understood that vision.”

Maintaining client relationships has been key to Kelly’s success. With the construction market sizzling, the company remembers the lessons of the past and is focused on smart, controlled growth.

“One of the biggest things we talk about is making sure we meet or exceed expectations on any project. That’s our focus,” Kelly said. “We don’t aspire to be the biggest firm. We want to be known for doing what we say we’re going to do and where we can still feel like one of the three of us has given personal attention to every project we build.”

Above: Kelly Construction Group principals include Travis Lourens, Jason Betts and Scott Kelly. 

Teamwork and expertise prove good medicine for SMMC project timeline

Shawnee Mission Medical Center has opened the city’s largest hybrid operating room, a fast-tracked project that converted an outdated clinical area into a 3,550-square foot surgical space equipped with the latest advanced imaging equipment and technology.

Built by general contractor United Excel and designed by health care architecture firm Pulse Design Group, the new multidisciplinary operating room allows health care professionals from different specialties to treat patients undergoing minimally-invasive heart and vascular surgeries in the same location. Procedures will include Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVR), electrophysiology, vascular procedures and cardiac catheterization.

Most of the construction took place after normal business hours to meet an expedited project timeline and to minimize disruptions to patients and ongoing operations. It was a challenge that United Excel was prepared to meet.

“It’s so different from building a big box store or standalone construction because there are birthing mothers and even NICU patients right next to us.” said United Excel Project Manager Lucy Campbell. “Adjacent areas remained active during hospital hours and during off hours. If someone was admitted for an emergency surgery, we had to stop what we were doing but still maintain the construction schedule.”

United Excel built a shell around the construction space to limit harmful fumes, dust, vibration and noise. Once the hybrid OR was completed and equipment installed within the shell, crews performed a thorough terminal cleaning to ensure the space was 100 percent sterile.

“We built a whole room around the space in which we were going to be working, so you are building twice, basically,” said United Excel President Dennis Burns. “Those in health care construction understand how important infection control is. If you don’t do health care construction, then you may not be aware of how important that piece is.”

Architectural details included a flexible floor plan that was developed and vetted by nurses and physicians with the aid of virtual reality, custom solid surface casework provided by Shield, and an elevated control desk for optimal patient viewing. The advanced room design allows for a patient to transition from an interventional catheter-based procedure to a surgical procedure without being transported to another setting.

“Our firm has designed hybrid operating rooms for numerous clients, but the new hybrid operating room at Shawnee Mission Medical Center is by far the most spacious and technologically advanced. It sets the highest standards for future hybrid operating rooms,” said Pulse Design Group Principal Rick Embers.

Greg Highbarger, SMH design and construction manager, agreed that the complexities of the hybrid operating room project-- including a September-to-January timeline-- provided challenges.

“...the synergy of our design and construction partners defused any concerns that our project would not be completed on time and under budget,” Highbarger said in a release. “The success of our new state-of-the-art hybrid operating room is a testament to having the right expertise at each phase of the project.”

The project team included: Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC), P1 Group, Capital Electric, Allied Construction Services, Shield Casework, and Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler Co. Medical equipment was provided by Steris, Phillips, Biosense Webster, GE, Drager, Siemens, & Sorin.

United Excel built an actual infection control barrier during construction of Shawnee Mission Medical Center's Hybrid OR. The wall blends visually into the adjacent hallway.

United Excel built an actual infection control barrier during construction of Shawnee Mission Medical Center's Hybrid OR. The wall blends visually into the adjacent hallway.