PMCS Carpentry Shop builds protective guards for ID Center

As the COVID-19 emergency escalated, it became clear to ID Center staff that extra safety precautions were needed to protect their employees and clients. Social distancing measures were already in place except for the ID card issuance process. 

As part of the ID Center’s project roadmap, an online software that would resolve this issue was in the works but had not started in earnest. During a meeting with ITS Customer Support Services (CSS) Operations Manager Michelle McKenzie, CSS Director Susan Roy mentioned the dilemma. McKenzie then offered the idea of acrylic sheeting guards similar to those used by grocery stores and other operations that interface with the public.

Following their discussion, the next step was to determine if the Project Management and Construction (PMCS) Carpentry Shop could custom-make such barriers. Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management David Darling quickly confirmed that they in fact could. Thomas Gutierrez and John Napier, ID Center team members, determined the measurements and submitted the work order to PMCS.

Jeff Bachschmid, PMCS Carpentry Shop supervisor, received the work order following the university’s announced move toward working remotely when possible. He took on the project himself in the interest of keeping the crew at home and following stay-at-home orders. Bachschmid also understood that there was a real need for this project, that it had what he described as “a real, tangible sense of importance.”

He worked with Gutierrez to establish the specifications with regard to how large the screen would be and where pass-throughs would be located. Bachschmid then got acrylic sheeting from Central Stores and cut it to Gutierrez’ specifications.

“Many different assembly methods could have been used, but I chose to make frames out of some mahogany that was in the shop, thus cutting down on material cost,” Bachschmid said. “After cutting everything to dimension, it was just a matter of gluing and nailing everything together, adding screws to hold the sheeting in place. Lastly, just some wipe on wood finishing oil was applied as a finish.”

Bachschmid delivered the screen to the ID center on April 6. As a safety screen, it needed to be in place prior to anyone coming into the center for an ID. Since each unit simply needed to be placed on the table, Gutierrez handled that.

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Protective guards shown before installation completion and after installation at ID Center
Protective guard construction for ID Center under way in PMCS Carpentry Shop (left) and guards installed at ID Center (right).

“The biggest challenge was not being able to go verify measurements. As someone that does this for a living, I’ve grown very accustomed to getting my own measurements. Thomas gave excellent directions, and I trust all is working properly. I have not seen the screens in place yet,” Bachschmid said. “The other hard part of this was working in a desolate environment. With everything shut down, it was almost too quiet. The personal interaction with the client was also missing. That is something else I enjoy,” he said.

Roy offered special thanks to Darling, PMCS Director Mike Carmagnola, and PMCS Associate Director for Construction Services Doug Gilpin for making this happen so quickly, as well as to the Carpentry Shop.

“Our team was completely blown away by the exceptional construction and care to ensure the safety of our team members and customers,” said Roy.

“During these difficult times, we give thanks and appreciation to the solidarity displayed by the UT community. One day we will all reflect on the many great acts of goodness and dedication in support of the university mission. Building and installing the guards have allowed our team to continue issuing ID cards for essential onsite personnel until an online solution is available,” she said.

Protective guards after installation at ID Center
Protective guards after installation at ID Center
April 17, 2020