Since 1962, Fishermen’s Community Hospital had been serving its island community in Marathon, Fla., in the middle of the Florida Keys. In September 2017, 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 community resource.
Due to reopen in winter 2020, 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 geographic risks, including:
• a building envelope and hospital infrastructure designed to withstand Category 5 hurricane wind events;
• flood resistant to three feet above the 100-year flood plain, exceeding FEMA criteria;
• reuse of the existing hospital’s demolition debris to support the foundation and divert additional waste from landfills; and
• a structure composed of concrete tilt-up panels for the building envelope incorporating regional standard building components to minimize time and manpower on site, accommodating a reduced workforce that resulted from residents leaving post-Irma.