Hurricane Damage

St. Croix’s Luis Hospital after Hurricane Maria in 2017. All four of the territory’s health facilities sustained heavy damage during the 2017 hurricanes.

Design and repair work of the territory’s primary health care facilities, which continue to rebound from hurricanes Irma and Maria, will take another six to 18 months to complete.

On Tuesday. Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said the territory’s hospital board approved three contracts that will set in motion architectural and engineering designs for the new Luis Hospital on St. Croix; Schneider Hospital and the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Cancer Institute on St. Thomas; and the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John. While the design phase for all four projects could take up to 18 months, Bryan said the news represents a “tremendous move forward” for a community now in dire need of a robust health care system.

“Our hospitals have been compromised since hurricanes Irma and Maria, and even before then we had trouble,” Bryan said. “But we’ve had to make decisions with an eye toward the limitations of our medical facilities from the beginning of the outbreak.”

The contract awards are $12.9 million for Flad and Associates to design Luis Hospital; $5.8 million for EYP Architects to design Schneider Hospital; $936,000 for EYP to design the Kimelman Cancer Institute; and $1.5 million for SmithGroup to design the Myrah Keating Smith Clinic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 90% of the costs while the 10% local share will be covered by a federal Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery.

Schneider Hospital’s Vice President of Facilities Management Darryl Smalls was named by the hospital board to oversee the process.

“The unanimous vote by the Territorial Board of the Hospitals in conjunction with the direct collaboration with the executive branch of the government of the Virgin Islands, exemplifies the commitment to the citizens of this territory that health care is paramount,” Smalls said.

All four facilities sustained heavy wind and water damage during the 2017 hurricanes.

— Contact A.J. Rao at 340-714-9104 or email ajrao@dailynews.vi.