This project converted an existing hospital gymnasium and adjacent areas into a space capable of providing care for up to 30 COVID-19 patients. The project was located at the Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, NJ in Bergen County, which was the epicenter of the state’s COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the hospital’s 1,000+ beds, healthcare experts doubted the county had adequate space available to care for the anticipated wave of COVID-19 patients. As part of a statewide initiative to address this lack of available beds, New Bridge was selected to receive the new 30-bed alternate care facility (ACF).
The ACF is located in an existing gymnasium within the hospital complex, with basketball hoops, hardwood floors, and cinderblock walls. The Conti Federal team designed and made several modifications to address the requirements to care for COVID-19 patients. Deploying in only 24 hours time, the team had to begin work without a complete set of drawings. The ACF’s confined area—totaling approximately 6,000 SF—also presented a challenge, as work in such a tight space presents numerous safety risks.
Up to eight scissor lifts were in operation simultaneously, operating on a temporary base of plywood sheeting to protect the newly installed floor. Many lifts contained two laborers each, and sometimes with employees from three different companies up in the air, all while up to a dozen other laborers worked below the lifts. Given that work was underway in 12-hour shifts for 14 consecutive days, the risk of workers becoming tired and losing focus was high. These challenges were further compounded by the project’s COVID-19 protocols, which necessitated everyone wear a face mask and maintain a six feet of distance from one another whenever possible.
The key features of the project include:
Despite the compressed project schedule, the team deliberately slowed our pace to prepare for each project step. This included making a full stop before each new activity to make certain the crew understood the task and was ready to execute the work as required. More subjective steps, such as making eye contact with each crew member, making clear the schedule was no excuse to skirt safety measures, and emphasizing the importance of watching out for one another, were also critical to keeping the project safe. Despite the increased safety risks, the team worked several thousand total manhours, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days a week, without a single incident in completing the project.
In this image: The ACF is located in an existing gymnasium within the hospital complex, including basketball hoops and all.
In this image: Up to eight scissor lifts were in operation simultaneously, operating on a temporary base of plywood sheeting to protect the newly installed floor.
In this image: The Conti Federal team finishes the final touches on one of the 30 patient modules.
In this image: Each patient module included pillow controls to connect each pod to the nurses' station for calls.
In this image: New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, visits the completed facility
In this image: Despite the aggressive timeline and long hours, the team put a priority on safety to ensure the work could be completed without incident.
Conti Federal completed this demanding project in only 14 days.