Construction is underway for an approximately 12,650-square-foot addition to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown to increase capacity and offer a regional infectious containment unit in response to immediate community needs for the COVID-19 public health pandemic.

The space will establish a 20-bed, negative pressure and ventilator-capable unit constructed adjacent to the current wound center. Gilbane Building Co., the same group that built Meritus Medical Center more than 10 years ago, is handling the project. It will be completed in the next four months.

Additional companies involved with the project include Frederick, Seibert & Associates Inc. for civil engineering, land surveying and landscape architecture; Leech Wallace Associates Inc. for mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering design; and Matthei & Colin Associates LLC for architecture. All three of these companies were also involved in building Meritus Medical Center.

The companies are exercising Lean practices to coordinate and streamline processes; leveraging knowledge from working together in constructing Meritus Medical Center; expediting permits in recognition of the need; coordinating to acquire necessary materials; and proceeding concurrently with design and construction.

This new unit will provide surge capacity for the emergent needs, as well as serve as a future resource for the region.

“The unprecedented scope of the COVID-19 pandemic and danger to the public if additional capacity is not created within the Maryland health care system puts this project in the public’s interest for western Maryland to have this much needed, high-acuity, inpatient capacity,” says Dr. Maulik Joshi, president and CEO of Meritus Health.

Meritus Health will soon begin a capital fundraising campaign to support the $12.5 million project.