Fisherman's Community Hospital by NELSON Worldwide

January 29, 2020

Since 1962, Fishermen’s Community Hospital had been serving its island community in Marathon, a small city in the middle of the Florida Keys. A critical access hospital, it has provided essential primary and emergency care for a small population whose only other option was 42 miles away via a single inter-island highway. In September 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Irma swept through the Keys, devastating the islands and destroying the hospital. Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF) closed the irreparably damaged facility, set up a temporary field hospital in its place, and enlisted its longtime design partner in Miami, NELSON, to help resurrect this important community resource.

Due to reopen in November, the new facility will provide emergency services, diagnostic and imaging, surgical, critical care, lab, pharmacy, and outpatient services in line with the local population’s needs.Additionally, as global climate conditions continue to evolve, and the Florida Keys remain in the path of hurricanes, NELSON’s architectural team is implementing a resilient design concept tailored to the hospital’s unique geographic risks, including:
 
  • A building envelope and hospital infrastructure designed to withstand Category 5 hurricane wind events
  • Building flood resistant to three feet above the 100-year flood plain to be prepared for flooding conditions, exceeding FEMA criteria 
  • Reuse of the existing hospital’s demolition debris to support the foundation and divert additional waste from landfills
  • A structure composed of concrete tilt-up panels for the building envelope and incorporating regional standard building components to minimize time and manpower on site, accommodating a reduced workforce that resulted from residents leaving post-Irma
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