flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

King County, Wash., addresses homelessness and COVID-19 with rapid-response site conversions

billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Coronavirus

King County, Wash., addresses homelessness and COVID-19 with rapid-response site conversions

The county is adding 2,500 beds within a dozen Assessment & Recovery Centers that DLR Group helped to design.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | April 5, 2020

King County, Wash., is converting warehouses and hotels, and building temporary structures on parking lots and sports fields, to quarantine people who, for whatever reason, can't quarantine themselves. Images: King County, Washington

About 18 months ago, officials from King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, approached DLR Group about developing housing solutions for the county’s homeless, who by one recent count totaled nearly 11,200, with just under half of those homeless unsheltered by conventional human habitude.

DLR Group, a national architecture and engineering firm, had been working on this project for a year when, on January 20, the first case of the coronavirus in the U.S. was reported in the state of Washington. As of April 4, Washington State’s Department of Health estimated that of the state’s 7,591 cases of illness and 310 fatalities attributed to COVID-19 infection, 2,898 cases and 200 deaths were in King County.

As part of its efforts to stem the virus’ spread, King County and DLR Group entered into an emergency contract. Working with the county and the builder Howard S. Wright (a division of Balfour Beatty), DLR Group developed a rapid-response solution to transform multiple sites into facilities equipped to quarantine patients who are incapable of self-quarantine, including the homeless.

The goal is to add 2,500 beds across 12 sites that range from converted motels and warehouses, to temporary structures built on parking lots and sports fields. As of this week, 800 beds will be online in four to six facilities, says Lori Coppenrath, DLR Group’s Justice and Civic Planner, who is spearheading this effort for her firm. She spoke with BD+C last Thursday.

Some of the temporary structures are huge tents, inside of which are barracks-like beds.

 

One of the county’s goals is to move people out of hospitals who aren’t critical but still need a safe, monitored environment to recover fully. Each of these Assessment and Recovery Centers is typically conceived, studied, built, and permitted within two weeks, to get patients into them quickly.

Testing for the virus is actually done offsite, says Coppenrath, to avoid infecting anyone in a Center who is not currently sick or has tested negative to COVID-19. In developing the concept for the Centers, the building team and county devised flow diagrams for how patients and staff would move through the Centers. Those diagrams incorporate transportation needs with defined drop-off/pick-up areas, parking, and emergency and fire accessibility.

Coppenrath says this project has been an exercise in overcoming barriers. “These Centers are like field hospitals, so you have to figure out how to offer basic services to people who might be there a month or longer.” The design includes storage that minimizes the potential for contamination from other patients’ property. The Centers also need to provide areas where people can wash their hands frequently and shower. The facilities must be ADA-accessible.

Some of the Assessment & Recovery Centers are ADA-compliant trailers, with individual living quarters that include kitchens, baths, and closet space.

 

Food services and waste management are essential. The Centers also have to give patients something to do while they’re quarantined. “We thought it would be a good idea to give each patient an iPad, so they could watch movies and TV, but then you have to figure out how to recharge them and provide WiFi.”

Finding materials and components on short notice can also be challenging: Coppenrath notes that bathroom/shower trailers are “just not available anymore.”

On a positive note, Coppenrath says that DLR Group has been able to call upon “different levels of leadership” to lift roadblocks and keep things moving forward. 

Related Stories

Coronavirus | Jul 20, 2021

5 leadership lessons for a post-pandemic world from Shawmut CEO Les Hiscoe

Les Hiscoe, PE, CEO of Shawmut, a $1.5 billion construction management company headquartered in Boston, offers a 5-point plan for dealing with the Covid pandemic.

Resiliency | Jul 15, 2021

A new report urges federal investment in healthier buildings

The National Institute of Building Sciences also calls for code changes and greater cooperation between building owners and the AEC community.

Multifamily Housing | Jul 7, 2021

Make sure to get your multifamily amenities mix right

​One of the hardest decisions multifamily developers and their design teams have to make is what mix of amenities they’re going to put into each project. A lot of squiggly factors go into that decision: the type of community, the geographic market, local recreation preferences, climate/weather conditions, physical parameters, and of course the budget. The permutations are mind-boggling.

Multifamily Housing | Jun 30, 2021

A post-pandemic ‘new normal’ for apartment buildings

Grimm + Parker’s vision foresees buildings with rentable offices and refrigerated package storage.

Multifamily Housing | Jun 23, 2021

COVID-19’s impact on multifamily amenities

Multifamily project teams had to scramble to accommodate the overwhelming demand for work-from-home spaces for adults and study spaces for children. 

K-12 Schools | Jun 20, 2021

Los Angeles County issues design guidelines for extending PreK-12 learning to the outdoors

The report covers everything from funding and site prep recommendations to whether large rocks can be used as seating.

Coronavirus | May 17, 2021

Future pandemic preparedness at the medical district scale

The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights the concern that we will see more emergency events in the coming years.

University Buildings | Apr 29, 2021

The Weekly Show, April 29, 2021: COVID-19's impact on campus planning, and bird management strategies

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C Senior Editor John Caulfield interviews a duo of industry experts on 1) how campus planning has changed during the pandemic and 2) managing bird infestations on construction sites and completed buildings.

Multifamily Housing | Apr 22, 2021

The Weekly Show, Apr 22, 2021: COVID-19's impact on multifamily amenities

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C's Robert Cassidy speaks with three multifamily design experts about the impact of COVID-19 on apartment and condo amenities, based on the 2021 Multifamily Amenities Survey.

Industry Research | Apr 9, 2021

BD+C exclusive research: What building owners want from AEC firms

BD+C’s first-ever owners’ survey finds them focused on improving buildings’ performance for higher investment returns.

boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category



Multifamily Housing

Make sure to get your multifamily amenities mix right

​One of the hardest decisions multifamily developers and their design teams have to make is what mix of amenities they’re going to put into each project. A lot of squiggly factors go into that decision: the type of community, the geographic market, local recreation preferences, climate/weather conditions, physical parameters, and of course the budget. The permutations are mind-boggling.


halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: