Temple University's multi-purpose indoor arena and other campus facilities in North Philadelphia will be used by the city as extra hospital space for patients with ailments unrelated to the coronavirus.
That will allow Philadelphia hospitals to handle the expected influx of COVID-19 patients in the days and weeks ahead.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Friday that the North Philadelphia university offered The Liacouras Center, which normally hosts Temple Owls athletic events, and other on-campus facilities to house supplies and act as field-hospital space should situations warrant. The Pavilion and the adjacent parking garage could be used for staging.
Supplies from Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), including cots, are expected to be loaded into the Liacouras Center in the coming days. The goal is to eventually be ready to treat around 250 patients once the facility is ready, city officials said.
“We are truly Temple proud,” Kenney said, announcing the leasing agreement on Friday.
Temple isn't charging the city, but the city is required to return the arena to its normal state once the site is vacated. The city could also "absorb" some operating costs if needed, managing director Brian Abernathy said.
Abernathy is “cautiously optimistic” that staffing will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but there are also plans to locally staff the facility.
The news came after the city and the owner of the former Hahnemann Hospital failed to reach an agreement on reopening the shuttered medical center to treat COVID-19 patients.
It also came on the heels of the former Glen Mills Schools site in neighboring Delaware County being set up to house an influx of coronavirus patients as the virus spreads through the area.
CORRECTION (March 27, 2020 6:05 p.m.): This story has been corrected to reflect that the Liacouras Center will be used for patients who do not have coronavirus and are in need of care.