business rules, points of contacts, and early design studies that the district could use and adapt on the ground.” Ingram explained that throughout the process, safety was paramount. “When we first started the assessments, we tried to keep 6 feet apart, based on CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommendations and guidelines from our safety department,” he said. “As things got worse, we moved to all personnel wearing masks because trying to maintain 6 feet [apart] in large groups was proving difficult, especially when trying to communicate to everyone or moving through small spaces.” Through it all, Ingram says it was a very humbling and awesome experience to be on calls with Semonite and to hear him discuss the impact of the work that had been done for the COVID response. “I was personally awestruck when our commander informed us that our work had made it all the way to brief the president and his COVID response team,” Ingram said. “Most of all, I was proud of my team of architects and engineers that worked tirelessly to get this information out to our people on the ground. This would not have been possible without their hard work and dedication to the mission and our country.” As the COVID-19 response efforts continued nationwide, Huntsville Center did more than innovate the assessment of ACF sites. 140
Paul McCarty, second from left, a mechanical engineer with the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, talks with Jelani Ingram, acting Architecture Branch chief, also with Huntsville Center, second from right, during a site assessment in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, April 6, 2020.
As the chief of Huntsville Center’s Systems-Cost Division, Amanda Pommerenck led her team to help develop a site assessment checklist that geographic districts and divisions could use in searching for suitable sites. “This was like a planning mission assignment where we put together a basic ‘how is this mission going to work and what are the site assessments going to look like,’” she said. “We came up with this process called ‘the binder’ – not a physical binder, but like an email detailing what health care facility and what various scenarios that we might be looking at,” Pommerenck said. “It was like building in the lessons learned as we went through the process. “Travia and one or two other folks were on the ground in New York,” she added. “But by the end of March, nobody was going anywhere. It was all virtual.” Pommerenck explained that each district has engineers, but what they don’t have is the medical expertise to build or change a non-medical facility to be used as an alternate care facility.