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University of Kansas deploys Black & Veatch’s Rapid Modular Health System units to combat COVID-19

Four of the plug-and-play units offer rapid, mandatory coronavirus testing capabilities for school’s returning students, staff

Looking to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus on its campuses in Lawrence and Overland Park, the University of Kansas has deployed four of Black & Veatch’s mobile, secure Rapid Modular Health System (RaMHS) structures to assist with free, mandated COVID-19 testing of students, faculty and staff returning for fall classes.

The modules – the first delivered the week of Aug. 10th for immediate use in advance of the university’s resumption of classes this week – were deployed on or near the university’s roughly 24,600-student primary campus in Lawrence. Those units include one outside of the campus’ Watkins Memorial Health Center.

The university has said that testing results should be available within 24 to 48 hours after the lab receives the samples. Results of the initial testing will help determine the frequency and type of future screenings, the university has said.

Developed by Black & Veatch – a 105-year-old global infrastructure leader with vast experience in pathogen-tracking methods and the construction of biological safety-related facilities – the RaMHS units are scalable, intermodal containers transformed into comfortable sites for COVID-19 screening and other diagnostic purposes. These windowed modules come in various sizes and configurations, electrical hook-up ready, weather-resistant, climate controlled, and lockable, providing security for personnel and equipment in any environment. The units can be outfitted with the latest in COVID response technology from a variety of partners.

The university’s rollouts of the RaMHS units coincide with the school’s “Protect KU” push to safeguard students and faculty, along with the communities where the university has a presence. Anyone who tests positive will be asked to stay off campus and interface with local health officials until they are cleared to return to campus.

The uniquely adaptable RaMHS module, which provides an alternate testing and screening site outside of traditional emergency room or doctor office settings, gives schools, health-care sites, office parks, government locations, commercial and industrial businesses, and retail locations the peace of mind of having a reliable, affordable coronavirus testing place within days. A RaMHS module already has been put to use by a Kansas City-area health system.

“Our company continues to enjoy a longstanding partnership with KU that began with our two founders as graduates of KU,” said Steve Edwards, Black & Veatch’s CEO.

“We applaud the University of Kansas’ prioritization of health and safety throughout its system and its proactive use of solutions to safeguard its students, faculty and staff. We are pleased that Black & Veatch is playing a key role in helping make that happen,” added Dave Johnson, the RaMHS solutions team leader at Black & Veatch.

The climate-controlled RaMHS modules can be quickly daisy-chained to meet community and regional demands. In conjunction with other personal protective gear, this design can reduce exposure risks. RaMHS also is a hub where personal protection equipment can be disinfected and data can be harvested and analyzed to record and measure where patients have been.

The RaMHS program follows the recent announcement of Black & Veatch’s Growth Accelerator incubator to find and collaborate with startups and other innovators to expedite solutions that soften COVID-19’s impact. As a virtual, remote effort, the 2020 Black & Veatch IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator has engaged companies and entrepreneurs who have real-time ideas about how to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak and  need help commercializing, rapidly deploying and scaling those concepts.

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Editor’s Note:

  • For more information about RaMHS and other BV COVID-19 response solutions, including COVOPERATE powered by Field2Base, click here.
  • The rollout of the RaMHS containers amplifies Black & Veatch’s innovation in addressing biologically and medically dangerous threats. Through the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Program, for example, the company already has been providing infectious disease surveillance and biological sample management to more than 20 countries around the globe.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries by addressing the resilience and reliability of our world's most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2019 were US$3.7 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and on social media.

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