Repairs are underway to strengthen Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center against future hurricanes.
The work, which includes replacement of hospital freight elevators, windows and exterior walls, will be paid for with Federal Emergency Management Agency grant money and state infrastructure dollars.
Hospital officials tell The Courier the projects will not result in parking or patient service disruptions.
The hospital has suffered damage from past storms. During Hurricane Gustav in 2008, the building’s exterior was damaged, and the cover was blown off the hospital’s elevator shaft, causing water damage.
The projects, while aiming to strengthen the 30-year-old hospital against potential storms, also bring updates to the building.
In early February, the medical center expects to begin a $3.2 million project that will replace all of its windows with impact-resistant glass, said Chabert Facilities Director Donna Pitre, who wrote the grant that got the hospital the construction dollars.
Windows above 30 feet will be able to withstand the impact of so-called “small missile debris” like roof gravel or broken glass from other buildings. Lower windows will be retrofitted to withstand large debris like street signs and pieces of damaged buildings.
The window project was bid out to McInerney and Associates of Nashville, Tenn. The company is mobilizing its equipment, and work should begin in the first week of February on the northwest corner of the hospital.
This month, the hospital also hopes to bid out a project that will replace the outer skin of the building with steel panels, Pitre said. Work on that project is also estimated to cost about $3.2 million.
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