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Lunch and Learn: DDC’s COVID-19 Programs

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) STEAM educational initiative launched a virtual Lunch and Learn series to give high school students insight into DDC careers and careers in the built environment. During the four-week program, DDC professionals will give presentations about projects, their unit, role, career path and education.

On July 14, 2020, DDC’s First Deputy Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer kicked off the series and presented on DDC’s COVID-19 programs.

DDC’s COVID-19 work has taken place in four essential programs: two temporary field hospitals built in Brooklyn and Queens to create 1,100 new patient beds; the creation of 15 new coronavirus testing centers and the laboratories at four DOH community health centers were upgraded to manage the increased laboratory load; three large “Centers of Excellence” are being built for NYC Health + Hospitals to help meet the future needs of New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19. Because of the closure of community cooling centers, DDC also managed the installation of tens of thousands of new air conditioning units in private residences to help older and less wealthy New Yorkers cope with hot summer weather.

“The big lesson for us as a City agency is that we can get things done fast and with integrity,” said DDC’s First Deputy Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer.

“As part of New York City's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DDC is playing a critical role building emergency medical facilities,” said Lee Llambelis, Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives.

Side by side photos of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Two temporary field hospitals were set up at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

DDC’s response to the COVID-19 crisis was seen in several areas including modifying construction timelines, shifting to a remote workplace and building emergency shelters. The creation of ICU beds for COVID-19 affected patients became a significant priority for the agency. DDC supported the work to convert the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into temporary hospital units. Three ambulatory facilitates were also built in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods to help New Yorkers recover from COVID-19 outside the hospital and prevent some hospitalizations with testing and preventative care. These outpatient Centers of Excellence in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx will play essential roles in providing comprehensive primary care services to COVID-19 survivors that support recovery. Health + Hospitals, through their primary care division, Gotham Health, will be operating the Centers of Excellence.

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 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