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University of Akron prepping dorms to house healthcare workers, first responders or sick patients

Posted at 7:23 AM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 20:19:47-04

AKRON, Ohio — "We're all in."

That was the message from University of Akron's Vice President of Operations, Nathan Mortimer. He said administrators are preparing to help their community deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.

“We’re going to put our residence halls in play and provide them if called upon," he said in an interview on FaceTime.

The university is offering up nine resident halls on their campus to house healthcare workers, first responders or sick patients.

Mortimer said who will be using the residence halls will be decided by the Summit County Emergency Management Agency. This week officials from the county EMA are going to walk through the campus and decide how to best utilize the space being offered.

Nine residents halls, with 2,400 beds, will cleaned and prepared for use. Mortmier doesn't believe each and every bed will used by EMA.

“If they’re for sleeping accommodations for hospital staff or first responders, they’re going to want to exercise some sort of social distancing," he said.

To make space available, nearly 900 students, who still had belongings inside the dorms, were contacted. About 90% of the students responded within two days. This week the university is allowing students to come to the campus within a two-hour window to clean the rooms and prepare them for community use.

Mortmier said the University of Akron is proud to serve as a community partner in a time of need.

"I think it's just a good representation of the community and you can see it, feel it and heart it. It's coming together in a time of crisis. I think not just in Akron and Summit County but I think the state and nationally. I think we're just happy to be a small part of that cooperation," he said.

Some of the residence halls will be prepped and cleaned by the end of the week.