UPDATE: April 29, 2020: Rapid construction work on the Pavilion tower has finished, allowing the space to accept patients. About 500 employees worked around the clock, with special permission from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, allowing portions of the Pavilion to open up well before the original completion date in 2021.
The 120-bed hospital will function as an overflow space for non-COVID-19 patients, as Penn Medicine's hospitals make more room in other facilities to care for those infected during the pandemic.
- Construction is hurrying along for the University of Pennsylvania Health System's (Penn Medicine) Pavilion, a $1.5 billion, 17-story, 1.5-million-square-foot hospital on the campus of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The Pavilion, which will add about 120 beds, is expected to open in mid-April, a spokesperson for Penn Medicine, which operates HUP, said in a statement. With construction continuing 24/7, the project would be completed 15 months ahead of schedule.
- Although Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf shut down all construction projects in the state, the Pavilion, along with other healthcare projects, got approval from the governor and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council to continue construction to increase capacity for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
- “These construction teams are an essential part of the healthcare workforce that is answering the call to serve our community during this global pandemic,” the spokesperson said in a statement submitted to Construction Dive.
The exterior of the Pavilion was finished in late 2019, according to a Penn Medicine blog, and work shifted to interior halls and lounges. Now, crews are working to bring about 120 of the planned 500 total patient rooms online in the short term, the spokesperson said.
One half of the 120 beds will be in the emergency department and one half will be inpatient rooms designed for longer-term patient care. However, parts of the interior will not be completed when the rooms open for patients.
“The building is about 75% completed and about a year away from completion, but the project team has been dedicated to figuring out how we can get these rooms fully functioning as quickly as possible,” said Stephen Greulich, Penn Medicine’s associate vice president for large capital projects, in the blog post.
While the hospital has received special permission from Wolf to continue construction, several other Pennsylvania construction projects have continued without that permission, according to ABC6 Action News.
In January and February, China reportedly built two coronavirus hospitals in a few weeks to help with the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases. As infections went down, the hospitals were closed.