News Release Manager

Corps of Engineers issues construction Notice to Proceed for COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility

Memphis District
Published April 16, 2020

The entire team gathers in a socially distanced circle to introduce themselves to one another before beginning the tour. The tour aimed to familiarize the Tennessee Deputy Commissioner for General Services John Hull with the building the state is going to lease. USACE will construct and convert it into an Alternate Care Facility now that the lease is signed and a “Notice to Proceed” has been issued. (USACE photo by Jessica Haas)

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 16, 2020 – Working at the direction of the State of Tennessee and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a “Notice to Proceed” for the conversion of the former Commercial Appeal building today, located at 495 Union Ave. in Memphis to a COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility (ACF). The overall contract was awarded to AECOM Technical Services of Los Angeles, California.

Officials expect to use the facility to treat non-acute patients suffering from the COVID-19 virus. One of the main factors influencing selection of this site was its close proximity to other hospitals where patients could be quickly transferred for more intensive care if necessary.

“Our teams evaluated a number of locations at the request of the state and provided an assessment of what it would take to construct the facility wanted,” Memphis District Commander Col. Zachary Miller said. “We are expecting the contractor to be onsite and begin construction very soon.”

This is a FEMA funded project in support of the State of Tennessee which is managing the health care response for their citizens. The state identified the site and will manage it. The Memphis District received the final go-ahead and funding from FEMA after the state submitted the request for construction and FEMA evaluated their plan to staff and operate the site. 

FEMA will continue to work with the state to ensure they have the medical equipment and staff support to manage the ACF. FEMA coordinates and manages the completion of all Alternate Care Facilities throughout the country.

Due to the inherent dangers present at any construction site, guidelines for media access to this location are still being determined. Additional caution will also be required in order to minimize risks associated with the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. Once finalized, the Memphis District will release this guidance to the media.


Jim Pogue

Release no. 20-035