White Plains-- On any given weekend you’ll find the Westchester County Center buzzing with excitement. From basketball tournaments, to live shows, to public meetings, the convention center was a local melting pot of events, people, and cultures. Now the convention center has a new mission, to serve as an alternate care facility. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, is making it just that.
A little over three weeks ago a Mission Assignment Task Order (MATO) was assigned to the New York District by FEMA in order to build alternate care facilities in the wake of the worldwide COVID19 crisis. USACE was deployed under a National activation to provide initial planning and engineering support (Emergency Support Function 3 – Public Works & Engineering) Nationwide to address possible medical facility shortages in the U.S. One FEMA MA was issued to USACE Headquarters for a Fusion Cell for disaster response planning.
Shortly thereafter New York District began to identify sites around the State of New York, and then began to erect these facilities, the first of which was completed at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The Javits Center Phase II is well underway and expected to be completed this week. With a Phase III to begin immediately following.
Following the Javits Center model, New York District architects and engineers made visits to the Westchester County Center to see if the center was suitable to host one of the four models for alternate care facilities set by USACE Headquarters in Washington DC, it was. New York District then immediately began to design the layout for the 60,0000 square foot convention center. A contract for $15m was awarded to Haughland Energy Group LLC of Melville NY to retrofit the inside of the center with 48 patient care units, and erect a temporary structure in the west parking lot of the facility to house 52 patients. The total 100 beds will be home to acute-COVID19 patients in order to provide support to the strained New York Hospital System.
So far Nationwide USACE awarded 17 contracts and is developing 17 alternate care facilities across 9 states. USACE has completed more than 820 site assessments of the 879 total assessments requested by Governors and others. USACE has received 27 FEMA Mission Assignments totaling approximately $1.6 billion.
More than 15,000 USACE personnel are engaged, across our enterprise, in our response effort who are providing support both on site and virtually. Of the USACE personnel engaged, more than 1,900 personnel are deployed. When requested by states and territories and funded by FEMA, USACE will continue conducting site assessments for potential alternate care facilities.
Progress at the Westchester County Center is moving quickly and the conversion is expected to be completed on April 19th.