New Orleans — Partial demolition has begun at the former Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in eastern New Orleans as crews ready the site for new construction.
Earlier this month, the city received a commitment from the federal government to insure a $97.6 million mortgage loan for the long-promised $130 million, full-service hospital. Acquiring the insurance was the last step necessary before the work could begin.
City officials have said construction should begin within months, possibly as soon as this month or December. The hospital is slated to open before the end of 2013. Though a 24-hour urgent care facility and a primary care clinic operate at site, the east has been without a full-service hospital since Hurricane Katrina more than seven years ago.
“As the old walls come down, the new ones can go up,” said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, city health commissioner. “This demolition is an important step in our process and is great news for the New Orleans East community and our entire city as we continue towards our goal of a full service hospital.”
The new 80-bed facility will handle “lower acuity” injuries. While the facility likely will handle certain initial services, such as heart attacks and strokes, more complex procedures will be referred to other area hospitals. DeSalvo has said that the city is exploding public-private partnerships that could expand services at the hospital.
DURR Heavy Construction LLC will perform the demolition of the existing structure, which mainly includes one-, two-, three- and six-story buildings originally built in 1967. The demolition scope also includes removal of interior components in the hospital’s east tower.