A hub for Munson Healthcare, the Munson Medical Center [MMC] campus in Traverse City is a combination of the original hospital and various additions, constructed as needed over the last 60 years.

As part of a vision to unite a community of services and programming under one roof, Barton Malow was selected as the construction manager for the Cowell Family Cancer Center. The 85,000 SF-facility consolidates several doctors, offices, clinics and treatment services from around the Grand Traverse region, providing a continuum of cancer treatment and alternative therapies in a singular facility.

The space encompasses several specialized treatment areas, including three Linear Accelerator Vaults for radiation therapy, an imaging suite, hospital and retail pharmacies, and multi-generational infusion areas. The Cancer Center is also Munson’s first green building, and features three rooftop patios accessible to patients and staff.

Working at Munson Medical Center – on the main campus, satellites, and affiliates, since 1986 – Barton Malow has become an integrated part of their staff, providing management, engineering, design and supervision resources. As MMC looks towards the future in planning the healthcare needs of the region, Barton Malow continues to support the Campus Master Plan with conceptual estimates and preconstruction services.

Using BIM to Expand Munson Medical Center

Barton Malow is leading the industry to leverage the power of building information modeling (BIM) to increase customer value and advance the construction industry. The biggest return on investment in BIM is realized in 3D Construction Coordination.

Traverse City is a relatively small town in Northern Michigan, and large projects warranting an in-depth BIM coordination process are not yet commonplace. Serving as construction manager for the Cowell Family Cancer Center, a $32M, 102,000 SF, freestanding facility on the Munson Medical Center campus, Barton Malow was eager to introduce a longstanding client to the benefits BIM provides.

Learning Curve

Implementing BIM was new, different and posed a significant learning curve for the group. A few contractors hired consultants to handle the workload, while others took it on as a challenge for in-house personnel, and in the end, it was the contractors who owned the process and fell in love with its efficiencies.


The most challenging rooms by far were three linear accelerator “vaults” for radiation therapy. The utility entrance into these rooms was tight to the exact size and number of lines required, and the team had very little clearance above ceiling for an intense network of electrical and data requirements, including their respective pull boxes. The maze of conduit and plumbing would have caused significant delays and headaches for field personnel, but instead, through the use of BIM, the team was able to make up for design delays in the schedule with no questions.


The Barton Malow project team quickly realized that the level of design purchased by the owner would not accommodate all systems within the given space, and our BIM Coordinator was instrumental in guiding contractors into collaborative and creative solutions for several corridors.


Utilizing BIM technology, the project had only 25 total BIM RFIs and ZERO in-field coordination RFIs.