Hurricanes Influence New Hospital’s Construction

By Dan Hounsell
June 7, 2021

Just as emergency management plans must take into account steps needed to protect healthcare facilities from identified threats in a geographic location, new construction projects also need to account for such threats. In Florida, one recurring natural disaster — hurricanes — are dominant priorities in building new facilities.

Finishing touches are going on the new $43.7 million Fishermen’s Community Hospital and meet the healthcare needs of the Middle Keys. The new structure replaces the original Fishermen’s, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The nearly 60-year-old building was never able to reopen after the storm and was demolished to make way for the new facility.

Baptist Health designed the structure to surpass building code requirements, with the ability to withstand wind speeds of a Category 5 hurricane. Safety features include an exterior shell of cast-in-place concrete walls for building hardening, a concrete slab over the roof deck to provide a more solid structure and better wind resistance, and pilings socketed into the rock at the corners of the building that exceed those required by the city of Marathon.

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