Abbott Northwestern’s Renovation Breakthrough

Achieving 100% ICRA Compliance, Sound Attenuation in a Hospital Setting

Mortenson is a Top-20 builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services. Based in Minnesota, with operations across North America, the firm has provided construction and engineering services to Abbott Northwestern Hospital—the largest hospital in Minneapolis—for more than 50 years.

The Challenge

Recently, Mortenson led renovations at Abbott Northwestern’s central processing plant, which is where all of the hospital’s surgical instruments are sent for sterilization.

The sterilization equipment was being replaced on the clean side of the processing area, leaving no room for error. Mortenson was challenged with controlling all dust and debris, as well as insuring that the renovation area was 100% compliant with ICRA Class IV standards. Noise reduction was also key to the project’s success because hospital staff continued to operate as usual outside the renovation area.

The Solution

Mortenson assembled STARC Systems’ wall panels, installing negative air flow monitors to keep the area dust free, and isolating any chance for contaminants to become airborne in the clean, sterilization area.

“With a conventional temporary wall installation like drywall, if you bump into it, you will have cuts and tears. There’s no infection control when there’s a breach in the wall, which can lead to the potential for dust and contaminants. That’s not the case with STARC Systems,” said Peter Hauer, Field Superintendent at Mortenson.

“The sterile side needs to be 100% sterile,” Hauer added. “And we have about a dozen crew members working at one time behind the panels. STARC helps us maintain the separation from renovations and the sterile area. This would have been a dusty and dirty job site with another temporary containment system.”


The entire renovation process, including Mortenson’s crew, remained hidden while the work was performed, with hospital staff continuing their daily work without distraction or interruptions.

“The STARC Systems panels provide the look and feel of the surrounding area. The staff never saw the renovations,” said Hauer. “The facility administration commented on the quality of the STARC product: The sound attenuation, the look, and the durability.”

Mortenson’s internal process is to share ideas, photos, and best practices companywide. Based on the crew’s experience renovating Abbott Northwestern’s central processing plant, Hauer said he felt compelled to “share STARC with our entire company.”

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