A&M Architect Students Combat Global Emergencies

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The Texas A&M Health Science Center and College of Architecture have teamed up to create hospital facilities that can be assembled quickly in times of emergency.

The plans are receiving praise both here at home and over seas.

"We're working with the government of Iraq for component construction hospitals," Dr. Paul Carlton with the Health Science Center's Office of Homeland Security. "We would build the hospital here in the United States, then take it apart and transport it to Iraq and put it together there."

A&M architect students have been given the task of creating modular hospital designs that could be rapidly constructed or deployed to Iraq as well as to natural or manmade disasters.

"It's good for the times of disaster like what we have now with the violence and the structure of all health services and the inability to rebuild the hospitals and health centers," Senior Physician in the Embassy of Iraq Dr. Hadi Al Khalili said. "So that would be a great help to contribute to a better being of healthy services in Iraq."

Officials say about 55,000 hospital beds are currently needed in Iraq to reestablish the medical infrastructure.

Students have also taken into consideration culture, finances, transportation, and quick assembly once at the location.

"Usually, when something is built, they fix the site and you see it being built on site," Junior Architect Student Melissa Guerrero said. "But with this project, they fix the site and at the same time, there's this building being fixed in a factory and you send it to the site all done."

The students have been hard at work since September, creating designs not only for health care facilities abroad but also here at home for a hospital in California.

Officials say the students' designs are so impressive that the public may be seeing them again in the near future.

"These folks have opened our eyes to other solutions and we look forward to bringing these back and seeing if we can use them," David Hitchcock with Aspen Street Architects in California said.