New Orleans Hotel Imploded for New Medical Center

NEW ORLEANS — A new hospital complex, the University Medical Center of Louisiana in New Orleans is set to be the single largest hospital construction site in the world, according to a statement.

What was once the old Delta Towers/Grand Palace building was imploded on Sunday to make room for the new Charity Hospital and new Veterans Affairs Hospital as part of the University Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, which is expected to cost more than $2 billion and be funded by state general funds and other capital financing.

"That building’s [Delta Tower/Grand Palace] been a blight on the city for a long time,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement. “To have it come down to make way for a medical complex which is going to be the economic development anchor for the city; it’s just spectacular."

The new hospital complex is being built to replace the old Charity Hospital, which was closed after Hurricane Katrina flooded parts of the building.

"First of all it’s going to be a great anchor for medical research and medical care and information technology going forward,” said Landrieu in a statement. “It’s going to be a huge economic anchor for the whole state.”

The medical center will house medical, dental, allied health education, 21st century health care and bioscience research; and will anchor other training schools like Louisiana State University, Tulane, Dillard, Xavier, Southern University of New Orleans, Delgado and more.

The 424-bed facility will also provide trauma services in addition to the diagnostic and treatment areas. A cancer program will include radiation therapy and a chemotherapy clinic; outpatient surgery; outpatient imaging and rehabilitation services.

The UMC is being designed to meet an unknown projected growth rate for patient volumes and clinical needs in addition to medical education for the state.

The structure will be built with structural steel and designed to meet flood-resistant construction standards with the first floors 22 feet above sea level. Emergency back-up power and other storm-proofing technology will allow the center to withstand up to category three hurricanes in addition to nuclear or biological accidents, tornados, fires, radiation hazards, physical attacks, and chemical and biological hazards.

A tentative completion date is set for the end of 2013, though the possibility of an extension is expected due to a long delay regarding permitting issues and hazardous materials found inside the structure before the site was demolished.

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