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McCormick Place Convention Center converted into Alternate Care Facility

Walsh Construction, one of the largest contractors in the city of Chicago and in the United States, is leading the temporary conversion of a portion of the McCormick Place Convention Center into an Alternate Care Facility (ACF) for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. The unprecedented facility will have the capacity to treat up to 3,000 low-to-moderate acuity patients across three of the convention center’s halls, where patients will be separated by level of care required.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) in association with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will direct the conversion of McCormick Place into a facility focused on patient care, infection control, fire protection and life safety. The ACF is designed to relieve pressure on the hospital system by freeing up beds for more patients with severe COVID-19 cases in anticipation of the surge in positive COVID-19 diagnoses to come.

The temporary field hospital is expected to be complete by April 24, construction on the first 500 beds was completed on April 3.

“We mobilized and began work immediately,” said Thomas Caplis, vice president of healthcare at Walsh Construction. “Walsh Construction is proud to support these extraordinary efforts of MPEA and Army Corps of Engineers that will offer essential care to our Chicago neighbors and much needed assistance to our vital healthcare system.”

Chicago-based Walsh Construction has a successful history of working directly with USACE and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to renovate and construct facilities and infrastructure on a fast-track basis. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Walsh has assisted healthcare institutions with trailers, tents, cargo boxes, negative pressure rooms and establishing other temporary measures on an as-needed basis.

Walsh Construction is the fifth largest healthcare contractor in the United States, providing construction services and delivering healing environments across North America. The Acute Care Facility at McCormick Place adds to a proven list of patient-first projects that include new hospitals, emergency departments, critical care units, outpatient services and more.