Photo: Yu Kwan Lee

Welcome to Hope Hospital.

Earlier this year, seemingly another lifetime ago, this place didn’t exist. Then again, for most of us, neither did the custom of singing “Happy Birthday,” twice, every time we wash our hands … or concepts such as “social distancing” and “flattening the curve”or wearing face masks in public. Channeling the espirit de corps of its founding physicians, who ran a base hospital in France during World War I, Cleveland Clinic mobilized to prepare its locations around the world for the pandemic. If the worst-case modeling proved correct, hospital capacity in Northeast Ohio alone would have to nearly triple to accommodate a potential crush of patients with COVID-19.

Watch Hope Hospital come together in this time-lapse video.

To meet the need, a plan quickly took shape that was as bold as it was urgent: Convert the 477,000-square-foot Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion — the academic centerpiece of the Health Education Campus, a collaboration with Case Western Reserve University on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus — into a temporary surge hospital. Tradespeople, nurses and clinicians got busy, round the clock. Out went tables, chairs and the ornamental trees in the atrium; in came hundreds of beds and a mountain of medical necessities, including 6 miles of copper tubing to pipe oxygen to patient headboards. By mid-April, less than a month after work began, the transformation was complete. Thanks to successful curve-flattening measures, the patient surge didn’t materialize. The new facility — christened Hope Hospital at the suggestion of pulmonologist Sumita Khatri, MD — stood ready nonetheless, a testament to the can-do spirit of a team of teams and the mantra of Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, MD: Plan for the worst; hope for the best. There’s that word again. Hope.