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Gilbane Building Company Re-Occupies Newton Pavilion for Temporary Quarantine of Homeless During COVID-19 Pandemic

An aerial view of the Newton Pavilion campus, site of the first and only quarantine shelter in the Boston-area to convert a shuttered hospital for homeless patients during COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Credit: (Google Imagery/Map Data © 2020 Google)
An aerial view of the Newton Pavilion campus, site of the first and only quarantine shelter in the Boston-area to convert a shuttered hospital for homeless patients during COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Credit: (Google Imagery/Map Data © 2020 Google)
BOSTON, MA — The S/L/A/M Collaborative, Boston Studio (SLAM) and Gilbane Building Company (Gilbane), in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance (DCAMM), Boston Medical Center (BMC), Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, and the Department of Public Health, led the technical planning, design, and construction of a temporary quarantine shelter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility has a maximum capacity of up to 304 non-acute beds for Boston-area homeless at the former Newton Pavilion previously managed by Boston Medical Center.

The Newton Pavilion has been a shuttered hospital facility since October 29, 2018. SLAM and Gilbane were contracted by the current building owner, DCAMM, to assist them in assessing the building and devising an occupancy plan to convert the space for homeless patients who are not in need of acute hospitalization, yet test positive for the coronavirus, but are a-symptomatic or showing mild symptoms with orders to quarantine at home.

The coordination and focused effort to ready the Newton Pavilion for occupancy required full-day meetings over a 28-day period held between DCAMM, BMC, Gilbane, and the SLAM design team, led by Senior Associate Loren Belida, AIA and Gilbane’s Senior Project Executive Jim Dabrowski. Following the Army Corps of Engineers review and swift approval of the occupancy plan demonstrating SLAM’s technical expertise and in-depth work in health care programming and planning, Gilbane was able to rapidly mobilize on-site and deliver the facility ahead of schedule.

“DCAMM was ahead of the curve when asked what it would take to temporarily re-open the 'mothballed' facility,” said Carol Gladstone, DCAMM Commissioner, “The project team quickly developed a very comprehensive and integrated execution plan that involved splitting construction scope between our internal team and Gilbane. I had extremely high confidence that we could rise to the challenge and deliver in a short timeframe.”

BMC will manage operations for the temporary facility and patient care will be administered by their clinical staff. The total re-occupied project area makes up approximately 166,500 square feet, spanning eight floors, and the overall project scope includes the reactivation/upgrade to building systems including life safety, HVAC, fire protection, plumbing, fire protection, medical gasses, electrical, and architectural upgrades.

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“Gilbane is grateful for the opportunity to work on this critical project delivered by this incredibly dedicated team. Our team and subcontractor partners worked three shifts, working literally 24 hours a day to deliver this much-needed facility ahead of schedule. We’re honored to be of service to the Commonwealth and its citizens at this time of great need," said Mike O’Brien, Vice President, Massachusetts Business Unit Leader.

SLAM and Gilbane have partnered on more than 40 projects throughout New England and across the country.

“The project team understood from day one that reinvigorating the space and systems of a 'mothballed' hospital would require expertise, proactivity, coordination, and flexibility,” said Gabriel Comstock, AIA, Lead Healthcare Planner and Design Architect, SLAM Boston Studio. “From the Commonwealth to the subcontractors, I’ve never seen a purer example of unyielding technical collaboration and speed to serve the most vulnerable populations at a more critical time in our community.”

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