University of Washington Health Sciences gets new state-of-the-art MRI

What began as a project to upgrade the scanning technology available in an existing research MRI, developed into the replacement of the complete MRI and its supporting systems within the same tight schedule constraints. The recently completed MRI installation creates one of the most powerful research labs in the world.  

The project included a relatively straightforward removal of the old magnet and a highly complex installation of a new magnet via tunnel with minimal clearance. (Spoiler alert: it fit!) A new cryo duct was installed on the roof, and new finishes, carpet, paint and lighting complete the renovation.

With the help of our 3D laser scanning subconsultant, our team accurately organized, planned and executed the new magnet installation. No small feat considering the less than 2” of vertical clearance inside tunnel.  A new process was required (never before used in the field) for removal of external components by the MRI manufacturer in a tented space immediately outside of the tunnel entry.

Smith Company Structural Engineers played a critical role in the delivery of the new magnet. They determined which concrete headers could be removed safely, and which one dictated our maximum height. They were able to rapidly assess the relevant existing building conditions as soon as the laser scanning was complete.

Leadership, collaboration, and the commitment of an entire project team were necessary to make this very unusual imaging equipment replacement successful.