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Worcester Alternate Care Site

Worcester DCU Center 

Emergency Field Hospital 


Worcester, MA

Completion Year



Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency


COVID-19 Response: Conversion of Indoor Arena and Convention Center into Emergency Field Hospital

Worcester Alternate Care Site
Worcester Alternate Care Site

Project Summary

In November 2020, MEMA engaged the SLS Response team to transform the downtown Worcester DCU Center, normally home to concerts, sporting events, and trade shows, into a 221-bed alternate care site (ACS) to treat patients for COVID-19. Constructed as a patient overflow facility for UMass Memorial Center, the alternate care site was designed to provide adequate space and resources for an expected second wave of COVID-19 cases in the region.  

Within 24 hours of activation, the SLS team began transforming the convention center portion of the complex into a clean, safe, full-service ACS. Working on a compressed 24-hour per day construction cycle, the conversion was completed in less than seven days and utilized over 40 subcontractors, plus multiple vendors and personnel. 

Later in 2020, during the second mobilization known as DCU 2.0, the DCU Center ACS was equipped to more complex patients. UMass included several clinical upgrades that allowed staff to provide better care and be an even better asset for the commonwealth. To meet staffing needs for the ACS, UMass contracted SLS Health to provide clinical and non-clinical staff augmentation. DCU 2.0 was operational for 100 days and provided care for a total of 623 COVID-19 patients during its operation, removing 2,813 hospital days from an overburdened medical system.  

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