The Swansea Labour-led Council is continuing to work with contractors Kier and TRJ to transform a former factory and film studios into a hospital ready to manage the expected upsurge in Coronavirus cases.
The council is taking temporary control of the Elba building at Bay Studios complex on Fabian Way to create an extra 850 beds for the Wales NHS.
Labour Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “We are facing unprecedented challenges in dealing with the spread of Coronavirus and the council is doing everything it can to support our communities.”
The task facing the council and its contractors is huge as the building has been empty for several years. However, the sheer size of the building means it is favoured over converting smaller leisure centres as originally had been considered.
The outer shell of the building will remain, but contractors will construct a new box within the building to create a modern and suitable hospital setting.
As well as the areas for beds, there will be rest areas for the nursing staff, toilets, changing areas and catering areas to serve staff and patients.
The work – to be overseen by the council – will include installing new flooring, ceilings, electricity, heating, water supplies and ventilation. And then additional work will be under way to install the medical equipment and beds.
The aim is to have an initial 500 extra beds in place within four weeks to meet the anticipated demand at that time and then a further 350 beds will be in place within the following weeks.
The single-tier building is thought to date from the 1950s and has a floorspace of around 11,000 sq m – bigger than two football pitches
Cllr Stewart added: “We are transforming the former Bay Studios into a surge hospital to help the NHS deal with the expected upsurge in the number of cases locally.
“This is a massive project because the building has been empty for years and it is a million miles away from what you would expect of a hospital.
“Working with our contractors we are starting the build from scratch by creating a new box within the shell of the building and completely fitting it out with new electricity, heating, ventilation, water supplies, flooring, ceilings and all the other basic requirements before we can then move onto fitting it out with the NHS requirements.
“This will give the NHS 850 extra beds and our staff and contractors are working round the clock to make this happen. I am so grateful and proud of the huge efforts being made by so many people.
“We’re grateful to the site’s owner Roy Thomas for being so helpful with us in arranging for us to lease the building.
“The people of Swansea need their council more than ever and we are here for Swansea.”
The beds at Bay Studios, if needed, will be for patients who are less ill, but not able enough to go home.
Work has started on transforming another key site in the Swansea Bay area into field hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Up to temporary 1,340 beds could be available if needed in the weeks ahead. They will be situated at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport as well as at Bay Studios in Fabian Way, and will be in addition to extra beds created in Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, as outpatients and other clinical and public areas are redesigned.
Swansea’s response to coronavirus – www.swansea.gov.uk/coronavirusadvice