Non-acute COVID-19 Surge Patient Care Facility, New Jersey

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group provided engineering design and construction oversight services on a quick-response project managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Philadelphia District, to convert a closed and partially abandoned hospital into a 250-bed facility to receive non-acute COVID-19 patients in East Orange, New Jersey.


  • Size: 80,000 square feet
  • Construction Cost: $12 million
  • Client/Owner: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Architect: Jeffrey Berman Architect
  • Completion Date: April 22, 2020

Tetra Tech had its team on-site within 12 hours after receiving the notice to proceed, drawing on a group of specialized design engineers and construction management professionals from across the company. The Tetra Tech team included professionals from the Cutting Edge Group and Archstone Builders.

The project involved the conversion of a closed and partially abandoned medical office building outside East Orange General Hospital into a 250-bed, non-acute COVID-19 surge patient care facility in 14 days from receivng the notice to proceed. The team designed and installed necessary infrastructure, including new patient care rooms, water and sanitation system upgrades, emergency power and fire protection systems, and wireless communication networks for the 6-story building. Up to 200 staff executed the work on-site, working in teams 24 hours a day.

The 14-day installation included 250 patient bed spaces for non-acute COVID-19 patients; replacement or restoration of 123 sinks, 70 toilets, and 24 showers; creation or restoration of 13 nurse stations; installation of 30 miles of electrical cable and 30,000 square feet of flooring; construction of 420 linear feet of 6 foot-high partition walls; and polishing and sealing 80,000 square feet of flooring.

Prior to initiating work on-site, Tetra Tech developed a specific COVID-19 infectious disease and preparedness plan. The Tetra Tech team employed dedicated crews on-site to disinfect high-touch surfaces, required personal protective equipment including masks for all personnel, maintained social distancing requirements, and used infrared thermometers to take the temperature of personnel entering the site. The Tetra Tech team worked approximately 25,000 field hours to complete the project without a single safety incident, and none of the nearly 300 project participants contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Tetra Tech led briefings twice a day with the USACE Philadelphia District, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, New Jersey Department of Health, University Hospitals, and East Orange General Hospital to identify hospital needs and review the integrated design and construction progress.

Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, USACE’s Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, visited the project site and highlighted several patient care best management practices—such as a wireless emergency nurse call system—which operates on a self-contained radio frequency, that USACE plans to implement on future COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility projects. The facility began treating COVID-19 patients in May 2020.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was able to quickly access Tetra Tech’s engineering design and construction management services by working through one of our small disadvantaged business partners, the Cutting Edge Group,” said Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO. “We rapidly mobilized our in-house experts and leveraged our existing relationships with the engineering and construction community to deliver the personnel needed to perform the work on an accelerated timeline. We will continue to provide our clients with the technology, tools, and innovative solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support their top business priorities.”