ST. PAUL, Minn. - The St. Paul District performed 54 site assessments across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota from March 27 to April 8 to support a nationwide FEMA mission assignment to convert existing large spaces into community alternate care facilities to augment COVID-19 response efforts.The district worked closely with state partners on this initial planning effort. Potential facilities included existing long-term health care facilities, school dorms, correctional facilities, hotels and convention centers. During the site assessments, task members assessed the facilities for: structural soundness, square footage, potential bed capacity, potential isolation space, electrical and communication capabilities, availability of back-up generators, adequate plumbing and HVAC systems, the feasibility of creating a negative-pressure environment to contain germs, safety codes and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.Scott Snelling, civil engineer, served as the technical lead for the district’s Minnesota alternate care facility mission. He said this involved participating on site assessment teams, contributing to the report writing process and reviewing the completed reports for consistency. As technical lead part of his role was to stay engaged with the lessons learned by other Corps districts as they built out their alternate care facilities.Snelling said, the alternate care facility model was structured around the template developed in New York City to convert the Javits convention center into a temporary healthcare facility. He said, the alternate care facility is a valuable risk mitigation tool for the region, even if it is not ultimately needed.“I was proud to be a part of the St. Paul alternate care facility team,” said Snelling. “It was truly impressive to see the team complete approximately fifty site assessments in less than two weeks, including completing the reports and construction cost estimates for each site. I feel grateful that I was able to contribute to such an important mission.”Clay Tallman, project manager, was the alternate care facility assessment team lead for the district’s Minnesota response. Tallman said the team worked in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health, state fire marshal, regional healthcare providers, emergency managers, local representatives (fire and police departments, sheriff’s office and building officials) and the Minnesota National Guard.Tallman said it was incredibly fast-paced and important to get the best information possible out to decision makers to help Minnesotans be in the best possible position.“It’s an honor and an incredible responsibility to be able to participate in this. We had an amazing team of professionals that assembled the information that we gathered at the sites and put it into a format that made sense to enable smart decision-making,” said Tallman. “Seeing firsthand how our district learned, adapted and excelled in such a critically important mission truly makes me proud of our organization.”-30-