From arenas to parking lots

From arenas to parking lots, how hospitals old and new have taken shape in record time to respond to COVID-19 across the U.S.

By: Dave Hopping, President of Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA

In these past two months, we’ve seen an unprecedented shift in the way the world operates. This rings especially true for the healthcare industry as these critical providers have been pressured like never before to treat an influx of patients that their staff and, notably, their infrastructure, was never intended to serve.


States and localities have been at the forefront of determining how to deal with this healthcare infrastructure crisis and have in many cases determined the need to either turn existing facilities into COVID-19-ready treatment areas or build temporary field hospitals to accommodate non-critical patients.

Building a new hospital or transforming existing healthcare environments at any given time is incredibly complex. To do it in the midst of a healthcare crisis within weeks is monumental. In order to effectively treat COVID-19 patients, existing hospitals have had to install entirely new systems like HVAC infrastructure that enables “negative pressure” to limit transmission of the virus. Field hospitals are being built in arenas and stadiums to address overflow issues so both COVID-19 and non-critical patients can be treated.


At Siemens, we’re fortunate to have not only the technology, but the expertise our employees, to respond in record time to help get these hospital environments up and running. We’ve been serving the healthcare industry for decades, providing the essential building and power systems that enable a hospital to run safely and efficiently. Much of these technologies are built here in the U.S., and we’ve continued to rely heavily on the ingenuity of our manufacturing teams from our plants in Texas, South Carolina, Massachusetts and Oklahoma to provide custom equipment in some cases in a matter of days for these hospital environments.


The examples below are just a small handful of the projects our teams have been delivering on throughout the crisis.


New York


In New York, one of the hardest hit areas of this crisis so far, Westchester County was grappling with how to combat its growing number of COVID-19 cases. In an effort led by the Army Corps of Engineers, Siemens partnered with Haugland Energy to help build a 110-bed temporary facility housed inside the Westchester County Center and across four tents in the center’s parking lot.  The Army Corps’s timeline for the construction was 21 days, and we’re happy to share that we helped play a role in meeting that deadline. In many cases, the technologies we provided, which included panelboards and switchboards, circuit breaks, load centers and automatic transfer switches, was custom-build and delivered in a matter of days.


North Carolina


After learning during a routine maintenance visit that a Rocky Mount, North Carolina hospital was transforming vacant office space into an emergency ward for COVID-19 patients, one of our Smart Infrastructure team members jumped into action. He and his colleagues worked in just one day to plan and locate the systems that would be needed to ensure that the new emergency space had negative room pressure and the system was installed the next day.   




In Boston, a shuttered medical center was brought back to life over the course of a few weeks with help from our Siemens teams in the region. The work was going to be extensive, but the team didn’t hesitate to jump in and offer their time and expertise to bring the building back online as an operational healthcare facility. The site is now being used to serve the region’s homeless—both to “flatten the curve” of transmission among this high risk community, as well as a place for treatment and recovery for those who have been afflicted. 


Siemens stands ready to continue supporting states and communities in fighting the spread of COVID-19. For more on how we’re helping to address urgent healthcare needs, visit our COVID-19 page here.