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USACE begins construction on Alternate Care Facilities

Published March 25, 2020
Updated: March 25, 2020
Jacob Javits Convention Center

New York District Team members work diligently in support of efforts to turn Jacob Javtis Convention Center into a Federal Alternate Care Facility to support Non-COVID19 patients in order to ease the burden on the New York Hospital System.

Jacob Javits Convention Center

Col. Thomas Asbery, Commander, New York District, shows points on a floor layout of the USACE constructed Alternate Care Facility at Jacob Javits Center.

Work is being done in support of FEMA-led COVID-19 Pandemic Response

NEW YORK— The US Army Corps of Engineers, USACE, continues to make significant progress in its efforts to support the FEMA-led response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Nationwide, USACE has received 5 FEMA Mission Assignments (MAs) totaling $357 million, and has more than 250 personnel providing support. 

Two of the FEMA MAs ($5.6 million) are for national activation and to provide initial planning and engineering support nationwide to address possible medical facility shortages in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. One of the FEMA MAs, for approximately $350 million, was issued to USACE’s North Atlantic Division for facility assessments, planning, engineering, design, and construction of alternate care facilities in New York. During emergencies, USACE is the federal government's lead public works and engineering support agency.

The USACE, New York District has been hard at work conducting site visits to determine the necessary steps to convert existing buildings into alternate care facilities. New York State identified four priority sites to be assessed by USACE: Old Westbury University - Nassau County; Stony Brook University – Suffolk County; Westchester County Center; and the Jacob Javits Convention Center, in Manhattan. USACE also performed assessments at twelve other facilities that will be converted to alternate care facilities in the near future.

The first conversion will take place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. USACE is well underway in its coordination/planning efforts to adapt 160,000 square feet (sf) of space, which will be designated for Federal Medical Stations (FMS). The conversion will include multiple floors and when complete, will include approximately 1000 beds FMS, and up to 2,000 beds in order to optimize the maximum capacity of the facility.

The facility is expected to be used for Non-COVID-19 patients to help alleviate the burden on hospitals treating patients infected with COVID-19. Layouts for the Jacob Javits Convention Center are completed and USACE is looking to award a contract this week. Actual construction is expected to begin shortly thereafter.

Through the unified national response to emergencies, USACE deploys hundreds of people to provide technical engineering expertise and promote capacity development at home and abroad. The Corps provides management and technical services to include: management and oversight in design, engineering and construction; environmental restoration and management services; research and development assistance.

USACE continues to coordinate at every level with both federal and non-federal stakeholders, including FEMA, Health and Human Services, New York State, National Guard and many others. Public Safety is the Corps number one priority.