COVID-19 Hospital Goes on Construction Fast-Track

By Eric Althoff

PHILADELPHIA—With the coronavirus pandemic having shut down much of the U.S. economy the past few months, and new cases of COVID-19 continuing to be reported, one healthcare construction project in the City of Brotherly Love has been ramped up to be able to treat patients as quickly as possible.

The Penn Medicine hospital tower, located in Philadelphia’s University City section, had already been under construction since May 2017. According to Engineering News Record, the project, which is called “The Pavilion,” was due to be completed in 2021, but in the wake of Philadelphia’s coronavirus outbreak, officials as well as workers at general contractor IMC Construction have revved up the pace of the work. According to ENR, crews have been working around the clock since mid-March to get the facility opened by early may, which would be a full 15 months ahead of the original completion date.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses throughout the Keystone State to close on March 19. This included construction companies, although work on the Pavilion has since continued.

Contractor IMC Construction, located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, is working on the healthcare facility in conjunction with architect Perkins + Will, which has its home base in Chicago. The project will include office space as well as areas devoted specifically to childcare. According to IMC data, Phase 1 entails 10 floors and 250,000 square feet of space, with Phase 2 providing an additional 290,000 square feet.

In a statement provided to HCO News, Robert Cottone, president and CEO at IMC Construction, said that the 540,000-square-foot Pavilion project is especially needed at a time when Philadelphia, and the rest of the country, faces such an unprecedented pandemic as the coronavirus outbreak.

“We take great responsibility and pride in expediting the completion of a healthcare facility that will contribute to the fight against Covid-19,” Cottone said. “However, this project will not be successful unless everyone involved follows established IMC work protocols to remain safe and healthy.”

According to ENR, when completed, the Pavilion will offer 120 hospital beds at a site that is directly adjacent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Said Cottone: “Our partnership with University of Pennsylvania Health Systems has allowed us to create a stringent monitoring and exposure prevention plan that will help us achieve our goals.”

Over 12,000 cases of covid-19 have been diagnosed in Philadelphia, according to the city, resulting in nearly 500 deaths. Pennsylvania’s Department of Health reports that, statewide, there have been over 42,000 diagnoses resulting in 1,600 deaths.