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U.S. Engineering Leverages Fabrication to Fast-Track Facilities for COVID-19 Patients

MCAA members continue to play their part in helping communities cope with the impact of COVID-19, and MCA of Colorado member U.S. Engineering is no exception. The company is leveraging its fabrication capabilities for projects that will serve communities in both Colorado and Tennessee.

Colorado Convention Center Alternative Care Facility

In partnership with Hensel Phelps and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Engineering transformed the Colorado Convention Center into an Alternative Care Facility for COVID-19 patients.

Within two weeks, the empty convention center, the size of six football fields, was filled with functional hospital rooms, built out with 1,242 beds, and with the oxygen system infrastructure to complete another 766 beds, for a total of 2,008.

The building required cleaning facilities to support both the patients and the staff. For this, U.S. Engineering fabricated four 7-stall modular showers for patients, two 11-stall showers for staff and 72 dual sink stations strategically located throughout the areas.  Additional sinks and modular units originally built for the facility were delivered, but will be used at other Alternate Care Facilities instead. For the staff, locker areas were created at the loading dock, and a 20,000 cfm temporary heating/cooling system was installed for comfort.

John Marlow, Associate Vice President for U.S. Engineering Construction, says, “what this team accomplished in less than 14 days is nothing short of miraculous. The entire construction team met on April 6th and by the 17th, a liquid oxygen plant and O2 piping were installed and certified for 591 beds and another 651 beds on April 24th.  This was truly a team effort from all trades involved.  Not only did our office and field forces meet the challenge, but our vendors, suppliers and subcontractors did as well.”

Memphis Alternative Care Facility

U.S. Engineering again partnered with the USACE for an Alternative Care Facility in Memphis, Tennessee. That project involved a 7-stall Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant shower trailer, a 100-piece custom fin tube order and 16 designed-from-scratch, turn-key restroom pods. The products were designed and fabricated at U.S. Engineering Metalworks’ shop in Colorado and shipped to Memphis in a 14-day period.

The Memphis Alternative Care Facility will have the capacity to accommodate over 400 patients and will be used if Memphis-area hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. U.S. Engineering Innovations, Metalworks and Construction teams combined efforts to fast-track the project.

The team adapted to challenges presented by the pods, Jeff Kiblen, General Manager of U.S. Engineering Innovations, explained, saying, “One of the challenges of this project was that the pods were scheduled for installation on the fourth floor, and no walls or windows could be removed to install them. So our team—and I emphasize team—designed the pods to fit in the dimensions of a freight elevator.”

The U.S. Engineering team designed the pods with removable ceilings, then boat-wrapped the lids and pods separately, four per truck, for the 1,100 mile journey to Memphis. When the pods and lids arrived at the Alternative Care Facility on May 9, the onsite crews unloaded them, packed them into the freight elevator, snapped the roofs into place and installed them on the fourth floor.

MCAA thanks U.S. Engineering for their efforts in helping our communities cope with the impact of COVID-19. We will get through this together.