US Department of Health and Human Services

Chicago, Illinois

  • US Department of Health and Human Services
  • US Department of Health and Human Services

Project Description


The US Department of Health and Human Services had renewed a 10 year lease but the 186,000 sf facility was in need of updated finishes, repair of wall finishes, and repair and replacement of certain doors and cabinetwork. Some departments required architectural reconfiguration. Existing offices were to remain intact where possible. The client requested that the facility remain in operation throughout the entire construction process. The costs for all work had to be separated for each division (36 in all).


To accomplish HHS' needs, Mekus Tanager used a previous programming survey we developed for HHS (used to determine square footage needs and construction requirements), and also met with HHS in interviews to review the project scope and anticipated results for each department. Our on-site survey was used to document damage to finishes and doors, confirm architectural conditions and furniture locations. We selected new low VOC finishes, issued design development drawings and developed construction documents including phasing. We coordinated and reviewed the budget pricing and competitive bidding.


In order to accommodate HHS' request that they remain operational throughout the project, the creation of a swing space was required to allow for the phased construction. In order to reduce the schedule, submittals were developed and reviewed ahead of the scheduled construction phases. Longer lead items were purchased by the contractor ahead of time and stored on site or nearby. End users were informed far in advance of their scheduled temporary moves so they could coordinate their efforts. Each demised area was completely vacated and all filing and storage contents were removed and stored on site. Workstations and other furniture remained in the space and were lifted for the installation of new floor finishes.


All spaces were refreshed and those that needed architectural changes were made more efficient. Overall there was a very high rate of satisfaction throughout, and people were able to start their work immediately upon completion of work in their department.


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Mekus Tanager is a planning and design firm. Since 1984, Mekus Tanager has been helping our clients turn their buildings and spaces into well-designed strategic assets that maximize aesthetic beauty, function and purpose, and return on investment. We are committed to listening to and working with our clients as a true partner throughout the design process.


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