Holt Construction & Union Carpenters Provide Construction Expertise to Build Two Triage Tents for Bergen New Bridge Medical Center
Edison, New Jersey — Upwards of 50 union carpenters from Local 253, Eastern Atlantic States Council of Carpenters, were called upon on short notice to help build two 100 X 100 triage tents at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, New Jersey, from April 19 to April 29.
The carpenters, working with Holt Construction, a signatory contractor, helped with the construction project at the request of the Army Corps of Engineers. Holt joined the effort after an out-of-town contractor had difficulty in providing the expertise and meeting the quick deadline needed for the project.
The medical center anticipated an overflow of patients because of the coronavirus pandemic. The solution was building two 50-bed tents in the hospital’s parking lot, making room for an anticipated surge.
“We worked around the clock to get these tents up as quickly as possible,” said Jason Spector, director of field operations for Pearl River, New York-based Holt Construction.
“These aren’t everyday tents that are empty,” Spector said. “We had to create walls, door frames, drywall, and had floors that were double three-quarters plywood with separated space for the 50 patient rooms under each tent.”
The tents also had six staff restrooms and eight full-service restrooms with showers for patients. During the entire process, Holt ensured that all the carpenters followed social contact protocols and used personal protective equipment including masks, face shields and gloves.
“We were aware that anyone the hospital admitted to the tent facilities were patients who were sick, and if there was an overflow, we wanted to have a safe and as sturdy a facility as possible,” Spector said.
Part of the reason for the project’s quick completion was the support and skill set of union electricians, plumbers, and operating engineers who installed the generators, according to Spector.
“It was the finest team effort you could find,” he said. “Despite the risk to themselves and indirectly to their families, our union carpenters showed not only how skillful they were, but that they were committed members of our greater community.”
“This was an unprecedented effort by our carpenters to accept the risk of working at a time when we were unsure of the direction that the coronavirus was taking,” said Mike Pierce, council representative, Local 253. “Though our carpenters had concerns that the general public also had during this time, they put the hospital and the community first, because they understand how important it was to have the extra bed space for potential patients.”
Pierce added that working with Holt Construction made the effort a memorable experience. “We had a first-class collaboration with Holt throughout the project, and their leadership and direction ensured that the project became a success,” Pierce said.
For more information about Holt Construction, visit www.holtcc.com.
For more information about Carpenters Local 253, visit www.local253carpenters.org.