USACE supporting FEMA on state determined expansion of medical capacity starting in St. Louis area

Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published April 9, 2020

The Kansas City District, together with the St. Louis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of FEMA and other federal agencies are working together to help the State of Missouri expand medical capacity, in case of a surge in COVID-19 patients in coming days and weeks.

“This is an absolute team effort with multiple partners and agencies, and we are honored to be in support of the State of Missouri and Governor Parson. We have completed multiple technical assessments with the interagency team across the state and are prepared to rapidly construct alternate care sites as they are required,”  said Col. Bill Hannan, commander of the Kansas City District.

FEMA has mission assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to convert hotel rooms in the St. Louis area into alternate care sites. A mission assignment is a work order issued by FEMA to other Federal agencies, in this case the Corps of Engineers, to provide State, Tribal or local governments with resources to save lives, protect property, or preserve public health or safety under a disaster declaration.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to this opportunity to quickly help the state of Missouri and citizens in the Greater St. Louis area continue the fight against COVID-19 by converting a hotel in Florissant to an alternate care facility," said Brig. Gen. Pete Helmlinger, commanding general of the Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

"Hotel-to-Hospital conversion was one of our original basic design concepts for quickly converting existing buildings into alternate care facilities," added Helmlinger.  "This will be the first hotel that USACE has converted for patient care during the pandemic response.  It will set the standard for USACE moving forward if we are given additional FEMA mission assignments to do hotel conversions elsewhere."

Since the work is in the St. Louis region, the St. Louis District plays a pivotal role in contracting for the work, quality assurance as the work is done and in many areas of logistics. The districts work together to ensure the state receives the best facilities on time.

Building out the facilities does not guarantee that it will be utilized. Design and construction are currently underway.

Many potential sites across the state are also being considered and have been assessed. State health officials are working to determine the needs and could add more sites.

The Missouri National Guard has been working as part of the state’s effort to identify potential alternate care sites. 

Along with the Guard, the agencies involved are the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, the Missouri Office of Administration, the Missouri Hospital Association, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Assessments included considerations for sites located in areas with significantly deficient bed counts, areas with spaces large enough for patient populations and areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction. 

State and federal agencies are closely monitoring the spread of the disease and can rapidly scale up – or scale down – the response in support of local hospital systems caring for patients.

For the latest updates and information on how to protect yourself, including what to do if you think you are sick, visit

Kansas City District Public Affairs
816-389-2214 / 3486

Release no. 20-011