Related

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A hospital being built inside the Miami Beach Convention Center that was initially scheduled to open at the end of April will be completed by Monday, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

U.S. Army Col. Drew Kelly is the man in charge of turning the convention center into a 450-bed hospital in under 14 days.

When asked if he had slept for the past week, Kelly said, “I’ve had a few opportunities for sleep, but it has been a hard fight. This is 24/7.”

Construction at the site was first scheduled to be complete at end of the month, but Kelly’s deadline was pushed forward to Monday when the COVID-19 peak projections changed. He has the help of hundreds of skilled construction workers, who are working around the clock.

Helping Kelly construct the hospital is Ingrid Bon, his project manager. Bon is the person in charge of the workers laying the thousands of feet of cable to make sure each of the medical pods have power and internet.

“It’s like a very fast ballet,” she said. “We built a sort of hospital, but we built it inside a facility that was never meant to be a hospital.”

Although the convention center boasts huge, wide open rooms, some may think the engineers had a blank slate to work with. However, they said the project has been one of their toughest.

In addition to moving in hospital beds, the Army Corps of Engineers had to build pressurized ICU pods, install a huge oxygen tank and do it all in record time.

Usually, they meticulously engineer and plan well ahead of construction time.

“But on this one, we were literally making a decision real time at four o’clock in the morning, to then — as the crew is standing there saying, ‘OK, here is how we’re going to do it,'” Kelly said. “We make the decision and keep moving. It’s been a total team effort with one goal, and that’s get it done on time.”

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will hand over the site to the Florida National Guard.

Medical teams from the National Guard will be the ones treating patients at the site if the hospitals become overwhelmed, and those with COVID-19 are sent to the site.

Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox