While most of the Northeast is on hold, the construction industry continues to provide its essential work in New York and New Jersey. Not only have transportation, utility, housing, and emergency projects continued, contractors and developers have stepped up to assist FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers with some of the many temporary hospital facilities popping up in New York and New Jersey—the two states hardest hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic at this time.
Here are some of the fast-moving projects answering the call of the health care crisis by transforming convention and expo centers, college campuses and even a racetrack into makeshift medical facilities.
At the Meadowlands Convention Center, a general hospital has opened to care for those who require unrelated care and less severe COVID patients. The pop-up field hospitals at the Edison Convention Center and Atlantic City Convention Center are in progress. The Atlantic City site is scheduled to open on April 14.
Meanwhile in New York, construction is underway to convert the Westchester County Center’s main arena, several smaller main-level rooms and a second-floor theater into a hospital. At SUNY Stonybrook and SUNY Old Westbury sites, 250-bed treatment tents are scheduled to be completed on April 19. And three 1,000-bed units are set to begin construction at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York Expo Center in the Bronx and CUNY College Staten Island.
Hopefully, these sites will be enough to handle the influx of patients and, before too long, they can be returned to their intended purpose.
This week the Army Corps of Engineers will begin construction of temporary hospitals in New York. Supplies and materials have already arrived at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center, which could be completely turned into a medical facility in seven to 10 days. The convention center will have four 250-bed federal hospitals on the main showroom floor. There is also a possibility that space for 1,000 additional beds for medical staff would be needed.
Temporary hospitals will also be set up at three other locations: Westchester County Center, SUNY Stony Brook, and SUNY Old Westbury. These four locations were chosen from a longlist of possible sites because of space requirements and the ability to transform the locations quickly.
Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia has filed for bankruptcy and faces possible closure. If the medical campus closes, there are obvious concerns about serving the community’s health needs, as well as the loss of jobs of those who work there. But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the seven medical buildings and parking garage that take up over nearly six acres on Broad Street along the Vine Street Expressway could become one of the “most enticing-if challenging” development sites the city has seen in years.
The age and condition of the buildings make it difficult to modernize to continue its use as a hospital. But the site sits between Center City and Broad Street making it a “gateway” location for redevelopment should that inevitably happen. At this point, there is no consensus of what kind of development it would be or if it would encompass the entire site or pieces of it.
Should redevelopment happen, it won’t be the first hospital site in the city to be redeveloped and re-imagined. The former Mt. Sinai Hospital at 400 Reed Street was turned into nearly 100 luxury townhomes with “pocket parks” and pedestrian walkways configured into the buildings’ layout. Southwark on Reed became the fastest selling townhome project in Philadelphia to date. And St. Joseph’s Hospital’s transformation into a mixed-use site with 88 apartments, The Civic Apartments, is nearing completion.
But Hahnemann’s future at this point is unknown. The president of the Center City District Business Association, Paul Levy, told the Inquirer that while his group hopes to keep the services and employment from the hospital if it closes, but there would be a huge, new opportunity for the city.
“The top priority is to preserve the medical services and jobs the hospital represents,” Levy said. “If, unfortunately, it was impossible to save them…it could create a whole new zone in the city.”
Bernie Sanders Holds a Rally Against Hospital Closure, abc Action News Philadelphia.
Anticipation is building for the Pavilion at Penn Medicine, which will be an innovative building on the cutting edge of hospital construction and design when it opens in 2021. Exactly what it will look like inside, however, is still something of a work-in-progress. While garage construction is underway at the site of the $1.5 billion project, the floor plan design for the patient room layout was recently altered, according to the university’s newspaper.
Part of the innovation already planned was to have rooms that converted from intensive care to a standard room or even from an operating room to recovery to discharge. Each room will also have its own private bathroom. Technology will be worked into the construction and design of the largest capital project in the university’s history and the city of Philadelphia’s most sophisticated and ambitious healthcare building.
The new design will allow for “quicker room conversion, more greeting space for visitors, and patients will be able to change room conditions with the new technology.”
While, the number of rooms will remain at approximately the same 700 total, the design’s previous floor plan included two 32-bed units on a patient floor, separated by a central public elevator and waiting space, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. The change in design will divide the beds into three units. Each unit now will contain 24 beds and will be separated by two elevator cores that serve as midpoints between each section. All of the rooms will be identically oriented with beds and bathrooms on the same side to make conversion easier.
The 1.25 million square-foot building’s eco-friendly construction includes not only the pursuit of LEED certification but plans for the re-use of water, use of 100 percent outside air and plenty of park-like, outdoor green space throughout the Pavilion building for patients, visitors and staff.