Members of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (CRCC) have spent the past week working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to convert exhibition halls at McCormick Place in Chicago into medical wings as part of the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. The union carpenters helped build 500 makeshift hospital rooms in the convention center’s Hall C in just over 2 days. Another 1,750 rooms in Hall A are expected to be done by Tuesday.
In total, McCormick Place will be converted into a 3,000-bed hospital by end of April, making it the largest healthcare facility in Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the project and Walsh Construction is serving as general contractor. CRCC carpenters have been working on the project building the infrastructure.
“These are incredibly difficult times for everyone right now as the COVID-19 global pandemic takes its toll on public health and the economy,” said CRCC Executive-Secretary Treasurer Gary Perinar. “In order to contain the spread as much as we can and help save lives, we all need to band together and do our part. Thank you to the Army Corps of Engineers and our partners at Walsh Construction for leading this innovative project. I’m proud of our carpenters for their selfless actions to perform this work in the face of so much uncertainty. They are taking every precaution to protect their health and safety.”
The overhaul is being paid for in part by $15 million in federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The makeshift hospital rooms, which are 10-feet by 10-feet, are being built to help accommodate what health officials are saying will be a peak in coronavirus diagnoses in Chicago around mid-April.