Tarlton Completes Mass Concrete Work for Proton Therapy

ST. LOUIS (May 3, 2022) – St. Louis general contractor/construction manager Tarlton Corp., in partnership with Otto Baum Company Inc., concrete and masonry contractors, completed the concrete construction of a new proton therapy vault for PointCore Construction adjacent to the OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute, a regional destination center in Peoria, Illinois.

The $5.5 million, below-grade vault is attached to the cancer treatment center on the campus of the OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center. It is the second proton therapy vault the Tarlton Concrete Division has constructed in the last five years. Proton therapy, a relatively new technology, allows oncologists to target radiation directly without significantly damaging the surrounding healthy tissue, providing the patient with fewer short- and long-term side effects and a smaller chance of recurrence.  

The team constructed a 4,520-cubic-yard concrete vault, inside of which was placed state-of-the-art equipment manufactured by Varian Medical Systems Inc., for noninvasive cancer treatment. Unlike many radiation centers, the OSF proton vault has no lead lining. Extremely precise structural concrete work was required to prevent the escape of any proton radiation. The substantial concrete walls, which include some over 25 feet thick, are designed to stop and absorb traveling protons.

To ensure all mass concrete pours were placed and cured properly, consistent communication and coordination between all trade partners was essential. The Tarlton Concrete project team included Kevin Oakley, project director; Brian Julius, project manager; Kurt Aubuchon, senior project engineer; and Jeff Vogt, project superintendent. Otto Baum Company Inc. supplied all labor, equipment and construction materials for the project. Doka USA Ltd., a leader in concrete formwork and shoring systems, fully engineered the concrete formwork to minimize deflections and maintain concrete tolerances.

A thermal control plan, critical to the execution of the pours, was developed in conjunction with CTL Group, an internationally recognized engineering, architecture and materials science consulting firm. The plan included a specific temperature control plan for each individual pour. Temperature sensors were placed in each pour to carefully monitor and track temperature differentials. The team maintained the schedule by streamlining a blockout process for adjacent concrete pours that allowed them to reduce the cure time between pours without sacrificing the integrity and quality of the concrete.