Construction of the new Veterans Administration hospital in New Orleans is roughly halfway complete. The $1 billion medical complex is currently one of the biggest construction projects in the city and part of the new 2.4-square-mile biomedical corridor.
Also known as "Project Legacy," the project officially broke ground in 2010 and sits adjacent the $1 billion University Medical Center project. Construction of the new VA hospital is being managed by Clark/McCarthy Healthcare Partners, who through various subcontractors, has more than 1,100 workers on-site on a typical day. Veterans Affairs Project Executive Mark Brideweser says the project is making great progress.
"We're planning to hand over the inpatient towers early next summer. They'll bring in all of the equipment and activate the buildings as they're finished," says Brideweser.
The medical center sits on a 30-acre site and features 1.6 million square feet of medical facility space with two 1,000-car garages for patients and staff. The hospital will house 200 beds, an emergency department, an imaging center and an interventional center.
To protect from flooding from major hurricanes, the hospital is designed and being constructed with all mission critical functions at a minimum of 20-feet above grade. The facility will also feature an emergency transport heliport and boat dock along with a perimeter designed to be fully-securable in the event of civil unrest. It is also designed with a full backup power system and the capacity to handle double inpatient occupancy in times of disaster.
Along with new construction, contractors are preserving and readapting a number of buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The former headquarters of Pan American Life Insurance Company (built in 1953) was converted into the administrative building. Part of 1907 building, which was once the former Dixie Brewery, is currently being stabilized to support an adjoining building. "We've been working to preserve a number of historic properties and are in the process of shoring up the Dixie building to [preserve] the tower," says Brideweser.
The hospital will serve more than 70,000 enrolled veterans in the region and is expected to be fully operational in the summer of 2016.