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Hospital Gets FEMA Grant to Protect Against Storm Surge

The hazard-mitigation program is a source of federal assistance for communities that have been declared major disaster areas. The intent is strengthening communities by improving buildings and critical infrastructure.

Four statues in a circle outside a hospital entrance.
Ascension St. Vincent's hospital in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood.
Bob Self/Florida Times-Union/TNS
(TNS) - Ascension St. Vincent’s has received an $8.4 million federal grant to protect its Riverside campus from hurricane-related winds and storm surges.

The money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will help fund the installation of windows and doors that can withstand winds of 142 miles per hour. Also part of the upgrade will be the addition of 1,900 linear feet of vertical flood barrier to the St. Johns River seawall adjacent to the hospital and a stormwater pumping system to reduce localized flooding, according to FEMA.

The grant stems from the impacts of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The total cost of the work — and Ascension St. Vincent's share of the cost — was unavailable Wednesday. Also, there is no construction or completion timeline, according to Ascension St. Vincent's spokesman Kyle Sieg.

The hazard-mitigation program is a source of federal disaster assistance for communities that have been declared major disaster areas. The intent is "strengthening communities by improving buildings and critical infrastructure," according to FEMA, which cited a 2018 National Institute of Building Sciences report that found that every dollar spent on hazard mitigation saves about $6 of recovery and rebuilding costs.

In January FEMA announced a similar $4.6 million federal grant to help retrofit two 1980s-era buildings on Ascension's Southside campus for wind protection during storms.

The money helped fund impact-resistant windows and doors and wind protection for vents and exhaust fans at the Roger Main and Joe Adams buildings, according to FEMA. The roof and exterior walls of the buildings also were to be strengthened.

Some of that work has been completed, while the "broader facade work is still being done," Sieg said. He said a target completion date was not available.
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