One Year Later: Hospital Completion Shows the Extent of Incredible Rebuilding Efforts in Joplin, MO


Walden Structures and Aspen Street Architects’ Mercy Hospital Joplin Project Gives Modular Construction Broader Credibility MIDWEST U.S. (May 18, 2012)—When an F5 tornado destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center on May 22, 2011, no one would have thought that a new 150,000 square foot hospital would take its place and open its doors within a year. With the cooperation of an entire community, along with a unique building solution known as component construction, the team behind Walden Structures and Aspen Street Architects were able to deliver a new hospital in only 8 ½ months.
The state-of-the-art acute care component hospital, now known as Mercy Hospital Joplin, opened on April 15, 2012. This steel and concrete “modular hospital,” which was made up of 224 individual units that were shipped across the country on semi-trucks from Walden’s manufacturing plant in southern California, not only exceeds building code requirements, but is also 30 percent stronger than the original 9-story St. John’s Regional Medical Center.
Standing outside of Mercy Hospital Joplin now, one would never guess that the building was constructed any differently than a traditional stick-built hospital.
For Charlie Walden, founder of Walden Structures and Dave Hitchcock, founder of Aspen Street Architects, this raises the question: Why aren’t more hospitals that are in need of upgrades or replacements considering this innovative building technology?
More than 2/3 of Mercy Hospital Joplin was manufactured at Walden Structures’ factory prior to being transported to the site for assembly. Once units arrived and were dropped into place by cranes, an army of local Joplin and Walden contractors stitched the individual units together and completed the hospital’s internal infrastructure including duct work, electrical, utilities and flooring.
“Teaming up with Walden Structures’ 35 years experience in permanent modular construction for the healthcare community was instrumental to the project’s success,” said Hitchcock. “We’ve been talking with clients about modular construction for more than a decade, but hospital administrators and decision-makers needed to see a project like Mercy Hospital Joplin built to understand its full potential.”
He continued, “We think modular construction has serious potential for not only disaster relief situations like the Joplin tornado, but for rural clinics and critical access hospitals throughout the country.”
Aspen Street Architects, Inc. is an Architectural/Engineering firm that has been providing professional design services to the education and the health care industries since 1982. Located in Angels Camp, CA, the firm has been working to bring affordable, component building technology to the forefront of healthcare design.
Walden Structures, located in Mentone, CA, has been providing quality modular buildings for over three decades, proving along the way that modular construction is far more than trailers. With over 260,000 sq ft of production space, Walden manufactures multi-story buildings, facilities with concrete floors, steel beam construction, clear span trusses, and green building products far faster than conventional construction and with minimal site interruption.
For more information, photos or to request an interview, please contact Cari Morgan at 209-795-7670 or

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