The Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital could have a temporary hospital support system complete as soon as April, Daryl Smalls told members of the St. Croix Coastal Zone Management Committee Tuesday.
Smalls, executive director of the Territorial Hospital Redevelopment Team, said timely approvals were critical and that some of the systems for the federally funded project had already been ordered.
Much work on the interim hospital and its supporting projects was completed before CZM gave its approval. When committee chairwoman Masserae Sprauve-Webster asked Smalls, why, he replied that after the hurricanes of 2017 devastated the hospital it was more a matter of getting “care” to residents than following procedure.
Tuesday’s meeting was a public hearing. The committee is slated to make a decision on the projects at its meeting next month.
The various support projects include demolition, earth change, soil boring, electrical, plumbing, paving, mechanical piping trenching, and generator installations.
Smalls told the committee that best management practices will be heeded to mitigate such potential environmental impacts as soil erosion and sedimentation due to stormwater run-off by utilizing silt fabric filters and silt fencing and grass seeding.
The proposed projects are on either the present JFL hospital campus or two adjacent plots of land. One plot of land is being purchased by the hospital and the other will be leased. Committee member Kai Nielsen questioned the advisability of leasing land instead of buying. Smalls said the leased property will be the site of a temporary parking lot and would not be needed when the permanent hospital is completed.
Some specific projects include an ambulance ramp, administrative building, medical records and maintenance building, temporary hardened structure with radiology installation, stand-alone sewer and fire water lines, and a telecommunication line.
The projects are available for public review on the DPNR-CZM website.
No residents testified during the public hearing. The deadline for commenting on the projects via email is Nov.19. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his statement to the committee, Smalls read, “The hospital has been assessed and approved for replacement by FEMA and an interim facility is being constructed to provide a safe hospital environment pending the reconstruction of the new JFL.”