Colorado State University C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute – Fort Collins, Colorado

General Contractor: JE Dunn Construction

Engineer: Clark Anderson

Architect: Clark Anderson

Completion Date: 2019


On Monday May 6th, Encore Electric helped celebrate the grand opening of the C. Wayne Mcilwraith Translational Medicine Institute (TMI) at Colorado State University (CSU). It was clear from all of the speakers at the grand opening, including keynote speaker Dr. Wayne Mcilwraith for whom the building is named, why CSU is the world leader in equine care research and care.

Encore Electric provided all of the electrical construction needs on the project, as well as the numerous technology solutions needed to help this ultramodern research facility come to fruition. Encore Electric has been collaborating with JE Dunn Construction and several university faculty and staff to identify technology needs and resources. It is the largest self-performed AV project for Encore to date and is an expression of the “ALL THINGS technology” aspect of the Encore Electric vision.

Kevin Zolitor, Encore Electric solution architect said, “For a project this complex, you need to immerse yourself and understand the context of what you’re building. You need to know what’s important to the customer, and you cannot just build to the drawings.”

The Translational Medicine Institute facilitates the discovery and application of novel therapies across human and animal medicine. The facility includes arthroscopic-equipped integrated operating theaters with attached observation rooms, equine-capable MRI and CT imaging, classrooms, event facilities, labs and offices, conference rooms, video studio and control room and an adjoining horse barn.

It features best-in-class educational technologies including classroom-to-operating suite interaction, real-time offsite collaboration, UHD/4K medical video capability, video production facilities, and an immersive classroom with panoramic video and virtual reality. Tiered classrooms provide an innovative setting where students can interact with surgeons who are based at the center or remotely, and allow the student to ask questions of the doctors through microphones at each seat.

A remote AV operator in the control room can “direct” the video and audio that is seen by the students and instructors. In addition to those tiered classrooms, regular classrooms provide the most highly sophisticated immersive technology available to students, who will often feel that they are in the operating room with the rest of the surgical team. There is a recording studio, featuring unique lighting and power requirements to allow for flexible lighting situations, as well as a post-production suite where videos can be edited together.

The management of the TMI project was challenging from the start. The very first challenge was that the beginning of construction happened right on the tail of the completion of design. The Encore Electric team was putting conduit in the ground for different systems, as well as incorporating more advanced design changes immediately after getting off the phone with the engineers on the first call on the project. In addition, the first phase of the project had quite a bit of trade stacking and collaboration issues that needed to be overcome. Foresight and advanced management of the team led the way in helping keep the rest of the trades on task and allowed for some flex room in the final schedule to ensure all tasks were completed.

“Lane Dickerson and Zach Barlow worked as a cohesive team with great communication and fast thinking,” said Derek Varnell, senior project manager. “Through their hard work, as well as the entire team who participated at the site, they brought the project successfully to the finish line and were able to provide the University with a state-of-the-art building.”

The team at Encore Electric is used to working in healthcare facilities all over the region. This project was challenging because it is not a traditional healthcare facility – it is primarily focused on equine health and medicine. Some of the same concepts applied to the TMI that apply to building a hospital for humans. However, certain aspects of the operating rooms and electrical power needs were super-sized, along with the need for distance learning and recording capabilities in each OR.

CSU has been an innovator in equine surgical practices for nearly 50 years and it was one of the first institutions to begin using arthroscopic surgery in 1980 as a tool for equine injury management. Since 1979, Dr. Mcilwraith has lead the industry in developing procedures in arthroscopic surgery and regenerative equine orthopedic research. Whenever legendary Kentucky Derby Trainer and Triple Crown Winner Bob Baffert has an orthopedic issue with any of his horses, Dr. Mcilwraith is his first call.


  • 2019 Associated Builders and Contractors Rocky Mountain Excellence in Construction Awards
    Award of Merit