UNH opens up rec center amid COVID-19 outbreak

April 6, 2020 / Athletic Administration
With the campus closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) offered up some of its facilities to healthcare workers in the state last week.

According to a story posted on the university’s website on Tuesday, March 31, UNH opened up the doors to the Hamel Rec Center to serve as an overflow facility for individuals who are well enough to be discharged from the hospital, but not ready to return home.

UNH Rec Center
Photo: University of New Hampshire

“I call this a conspiracy of care,” UNH police chief Paul Dean, who is also serving as vice president of public safety and risk management for the campus, said in the post. “What we’ve been doing is nothing short of the true essence of this community, supporting everyone from students to faculty, staff and alumni to state and local residents. I can’t think of anything better I can be doing as a police chief than the work we’re undertaking right now.”

Dean’s preparation began, in part, back in 2009 when the H1NI influenza virus hit the states. He, along with the university’s emergency group, began stockpiling protective gear that included gloves, surgical masks and N-95 respirators.

“We knew [then] it wasn’t a question of ‘if’, but rather ‘when,'” Dean said.

 » RELATED: Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

When the coronavirus began picking up traction in the U.S., the Wildcats had compiled roughly 45,000 pairs of gloves, 11,000 surgical masks, 4,800 N-95 respirators, 216 protective gowns, and 38 Tyvek suits through their own stockpile and contributions from labs and departments campus-wide.

In addition to providing personal protective equipment (PPE), Dean and company are helping to create PPEs with the support of the university’s 3D printers — making headbands for protective face shields. As of Tuesday, March 31, more than 150 headbands had been completed.

To read the full story and find out what else UNH is doing to help its community, click here.