(Bronx, NY – December 7, 2020) The first of three COVID Centers of Excellence designed to meet the short- and long-term healthcare needs of patients recovering from COVID-19 opened to patients last week in the Bronx after the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) managed the construction, turning the facility over to the City’s public hospital system in just four months, at least one year faster than the original construction schedule.
“The DDC team was able to cut at least a year off construction time for this very important project, which will bring healthcare services to people in the Bronx who are recovering from COVID,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “I’d like to thank Dr. Mitchell Katz and NYC Health + Hospitals for entrusting us with many of their most critical projects during this difficult time. DDC remains prepared to take on whatever construction the City needs to get through the pandemic.”
The 22,000-square-foot Center was built by DDC for NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H) and has 40 exam rooms, including five with negative air pressure handling to contain airborne virus particles from patients with COVID. The Center had originally been planned to be built by H+H as a community health clinic but was turned over to DDC when the pandemic struck and quickly redesigned and built in four months under the less restrictive contracting rules allowed by the State of New York’s public health emergency declaration.
An additional center in Jackson Heights, Queens has been completed by DDC and is currently being fitted out by H+H before opening to patients, while a third much larger center in Bushwick, Brooklyn remains under construction.
The Bronx Center, on the first floor of 1920 Webster Avenue in Tremont, meets the comprehensive needs of COVID-19 patients, providing them with pulmonary, cardiology, radiology and mental health services. The site also offers comprehensive primary care health services for local residents, such as cancer screenings, dental and vision care, OBGYN, bariatrics, diabetes management, podiatry and pediatrics.
Work took place in two shifts, six-days-a-week to meet an aggressive schedule for opening. Though close to 150 workers were at the site daily, strict policies about health screening, face coverings and social distancing resulted in no cases of COVID being reported among workers during construction. DDC began work at the site in early-June and turned it over to H+H on September 30. It received its first patient on November 30 after being fitted out by H+H with medical equipment and its electronic medical record system.
Because of the potential impact on residents and the community created by the intensified construction schedule, DDC’s Office of Community Outreach and Notification (OCON) developed an outreach plan for each Center site, including printed notices to advise residents of construction progress and planned utility shutdowns. A three-person OCON unit manages community relations so work can proceed smoothly, and worked directly with contractors to mitigate noise and other construction impacts.
Since March 2020, DDC has also:
DDC also managed the City’s GetCool program, which installed more than 70,000 free air conditioning units in the homes of low-income seniors, and has performed more than 500 site inspections for the City’s Learning Bridges program, which is providing free child care options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.