Hospital adding screens to thwart hurricane winds

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News,Business

MARRERO, La. (AP) — West Jefferson Medical Center is working on what hospital officials describe as a hurricane-hardening project to secure its windows.

New Orleans CityBusiness reports (http://bit.ly/1ee3giW) the work is part of a series of upgrades underway at the hospital in Jefferson Parish.

It's one of a series of ongoing and upcoming construction projects at the facility.

Director of facilities management Eric Yancovich says the hospital is using block grant money provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to install metal window screens to protect patient rooms and other units during a major storm.

More than 70 windows were pierced by debris during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, forcing patients to be moved to other parts of the hospital.

A $2.66 million contract was awarded in October to Georgia-based Phoenix Architectural Products, one of five bidders on the project. Yancovich said the work could take up to a year to complete.

"The screens are being mounted to outside frames that are already installed," he said. "The screens comply with the Miami-Dade wind requirements, meaning they will protect up to 175 mph."

Other projects going on at the hospital include a $1.6 million new facility for the West Jefferson's information technology offices.

The hospital is moving its information technology department to a building that currently is used for storage.

The present location, on the first floor across from the hospital's emergency room, will be used for additional clinic space.

The total cost for the move is estimated at $4 million. The relocation is expected to be complete by summer, Yancovich said.

The hospital is also building a parking lot to serve patients at its newly relocated and expanded endoscopy unit.

A $200,000 contract was awarded to Task Force LLC of Baton Rouge for the work.

Yancovich said the new parking lot is expected to be completed in the next two months.

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Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness, http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com

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