First look inside the Colorado Convention Center, which will soon be makeshift hospital

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DENVER (KDVR) — For the first time Friday, cameras were allowed inside the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, which is being transformed into a makeshift hospital.

“We anticipate 250 beds to be ready by 18th of April,” said Maj. Christopher Mazurek with the Army Corps of Engineers, adding, “The plan is to get all 2,000 beds ready.”

Patients will be housed in individual pods, which are currently being constructed. Each pod will have its own walls and oxygen supply which will be pumped in from outside the convention center.

The goal is for this facility to be the last stop for recovering COVID-19 patients.

By creating this facility, the state is hoping critically ill patients can be cared for in actual hospitals while recovering patients still have a place to be looked over.

“I don’t expect it will be completely full,” Gov. Jared Polis said at a press conference Friday.

“Unfortunately, I also don’t think it will be completely empty,” Polis added.

Polis says the convention center was an obvious choice due to its structure.

“It regularly has construction and tear down, and now it’s just construction of a different type,” he said.

The center will not accept walk-up patients. Instead, the recovering COVID-19 patients will be sent there directly from hospitals. 

“These are used to step down folks from critical care who aren’t ready to go home,” said Polis. 

Polis’ office did not return questions regarding which hospitals in Colorado would potentially send patients there.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, many of the 300 workers constructing the facility worked on the construction of the VA. 

Copper pipes were being installed Friday to pump oxygen in from containers stored outside the complex. 

It remains unclear how much the facility will cost, although that total is likely in the millions.

Polis’ office expects those numbers to be finalized by next week.

A similar facility is expected to be constructed in Loveland on the complex of “The Ranch.”

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