When the coronavirus pandemic first emerged in China, the country reportedly responded by quickly building modular hospitals to house those infected with COVID-19. Around the U.S., efforts to flatten the curve have pushed the federal government, often spearheaded by the Army Corps of Engineers, to construct hospitals in convention centers or other similar spaces, or for contractors to speed up construction of traditional hospital projects already underway.
One of the first was the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which was transformed in early April into a 4,000-bed “hospital.” It originally was intended for non-COVID-19 patients but was transitioned to a wholly COVID-19 facility, The Washington Post reported.
Here is a look at a few locations under or wrapping up construction that will be future sites for housing COVID-19 patients and others.
The Pavilion – Philadelphia
In late March, the University of Pennsylvania Health System accelerated construction of the Pavilion, a $1.5 billion, 17-story, 1.5-million-square-foot hospital on the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania campus. The Pavilion construction picked up to 24/7 work, and would add 120 beds to help house COVID-19 patients.
A spokesperson for Penn Medicine said the hospital would open 15 months ahead of schedule in mid-April. The space is currently prepped as Penn Medicine determines if it will need to use the extra beds, a spokesperson told Construction Dive. The Pavilion would still have some unfinished spaces and not reach its full, planned 500-bed capacity, to allow for some overflow patients from other Pennsylvania hospitals.
Though construction in Pennsylvania is mostly shutdown until May 8, the hospital work was considered essential and permitted to continue. At the time of publication, Pennsylvania had 34,528 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
McCormick Place Convention Center – Chicago
AECOM announced that after the project began April 1, Chicago’s McCormick Place opened up the first of 500 beds as an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients on April 20. The project was fast-tracked to enable quick construction of important aspects of medical care in the space.
The Army Corps of Engineers, AECOM and the Illinois National Guard worked under the direction of the city of Chicago. The next phase, offering an additional 500 beds, is expected to open in the space at the end of the month. At the time of publication, Illinois had 33,059 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
AECOM also has teamed with the Army Corps to convert Old Westbury College, part of the State University of New York on Long Island, to convert the space into an alternate care facility. At the same time, in Rhode Island, AECOM is working with the Rhode Island National Guard to convert other structures into non-acute-care facilities.
Miami Beach Convention Center – Miami Beach, Florida
Robins & Morton, a leading healthcare construction company, was selected by the Army Corps of Engineers to transform 250,000 square feet of the Miami Beach Convention Center into a functional hospital space. The $22.5 million contract would create space for 450 beds and is scheduled to receive patients April 21, according to a press release.
Robins & Morton used more than 20 South Florida contractors to assemble a 250-person team, while ensuring onsite CDC social distancing and safety guidelines were still met. At the time of publication, Florida had 27,869 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center – Washington, D.C.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. was chosen by the Army Corps of Engineers on April 20 to convert the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to a coronavirus hospital. The hospital will be built out in phases, with the first 500 beds opening in the first week of May, according to BisNow, with an additional 1,000 beds by the end of the month.
At the time of publication, Washington, D.C. had 3,098 confirmed COVID cases.
Wisconsin State Fair Park – West Allis, Wisconsin
Work on the Wisconsin State Fair coronavirus overflow facility was completed the weekend of April 18. The Army Corps of Engineers selected Gilbane Federal Inc. for the job, which took 10 days and added 754 beds.
Inside the 200,000-square-foot building, showers and oxygen lines were added for patients, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. At the time of publication, Wisconsin had 4,620 confirmed COVID-19 cases.