Supporting the local community is a large part of the Studio Design Group mission. When the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in December, SDG realized that our extensive experience with healthcare design in San Luis Obispo County presented a unique opportunity to help prepare these local labs and hospitals for distribution.
Because of the vaccines’ high demand and limited availability, proper conditions during transportation and storage are critical. The vaccine created by Pfizer requires storage in ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers that can maintain a temperature of -120 degrees Fahrenheit, far below the range for regular or commercial freezers. These ultra-cold storage units are uncommon, even in laboratory and hospital settings, yet they are crucial to the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Even the Moderna vaccine, which only requires medical-grade refrigeration, had limited options for storage on the Central Coast.
As the vaccine was getting closer to distribution. Studio Design Group Architects drew on their experience in healthcare design to assess the availability of equipment capable of safely storing the vaccine. What they found in our area was that, while we now have adequate testing facilities, storage facilities were insufficient.
Putting competition aside, Architect Aron Kahn partnered with the architectural team at St. John’s Regional Center in Oxnard and, with the help of the mechanical engineers at Brummel Myrick Associates, they developed plans and worked on code requirements to make sure the units were installed properly and achieved the vaccine storage goals.
As of this week, at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, the team has installed a ULT freezer (for Pfizer), a medical refrigerator (for Moderna), and regular medical grade refrigerating to assist in the defrosting process of the vaccines prior to administration. The Marian team included Ashley Vance Engineering, who assisted with the equipment anchoring, and Thom Engineering who brought electrical expertise. Alan Roinestad Construction Management was the General Contractor on the project.
SDG’s Gabrielle Signorella is heading the project installing a medical grade freezer and refrigerator at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital to support storage and distribution for the 5-Cities area. Code compliant plans and permits for all of the projects will be finalized after installation, considering the national health crisis.
Studio Design Group is proud to play a role in getting this important medicine into local healthcare facilities, and eventually to the people of the community we share.
To learn more about our work in San Luis Obispo county healthcare design, view our projects or reach out to us at 805-541-3848.