Despite COVID-19, construction continues according to schedule, says VP
By Daniel Baldwin
The COVID-19 outbreak has so far not impacted nor delayed the construction of the new MVHS Medical Center in downtown Utica.
Bob Scholefield, MVHS’s executive vice president of facilities and real estate, has overseen the construction process of the new hospital, and Gilbane Building Company has provided MVHS the construction services and crew to get the project done.
Gilbane and MVHS faced a few COVID-19 obstacles. Scholefield said that a few of the construction workers got COVID-19 outside of the site and had to quarantine. Scholefield also said that social distancing made it harder for the workers to complete a certain project.
There were a few days where the crew was short-staffed and fell behind schedule. But despite the COVID-19 issues and setbacks, the team managed to work through the problems and get right back on schedule.
“We’ve had people that had been exposed (to COVID-19),” Scholefield said. “Not exposed here, but in their personal lives. So that reduced the number of people available; but also because of the requirement for social distancing. We do know that in some parts of the project there are fewer people working in congested areas, which does take a little longer to get some of those areas completed.”
The steel structure of the building was completed on Feb. 2, according to a MVHS press release and the crew is now working on the interior and exterior design of the building. Scholefield said that the construction of this new medical center should be completed in 2023.
The building will be 10 stories high, have 359 bedrooms and 14 operating rooms, according to Scholefield. The most recent and state-of-the-art medical equipment, from the patients’ beds to the MRI scans, will be installed in the new hospital. The patients will have their very own private bedrooms. All the bedrooms, no matter what floor they are on, will be exactly alike with the beds, restrooms, TV and other props being in the same location. A medical storage closet will be located right next to every bedroom so the doctors and nurses have easy access to medical supplies and do not have to run up and down the hallway to get it. Nurse stations will be near the patients’ rooms and not at the end of a corridor, thus making it and faster to reach patients.
MVHS’s downtown hospital will come at the expense of the two other Utica hospitals MVHS owns and operates, St. Elizabeth and St. Luke’s.
Scholefield said that these two hospitals would shut down once the new one opens. All the doctors, nurses and staff that currently work at St. Elizabeth and St. Luke will move to the new downtown medical center and continue to do their jobs there. Even the patients currently recovering and being treated at these two hospitals will be medically transported to the new facility.
Photo: Construction of the new MVHS Medical Center in downtown Utica is moving ahead. Photo by Daniel Baldwin.