R10 Auburn Complex Becomes COVID Testing Site
September 10, 2020
The Northwest/Arctic Region has played a significant role during the pandemic in many areas including cleaning buildings where positive cases were detected and helping partner agencies meet the region’s medical needs with equipment and services. Now, add COVID-19 testing site to that list.
On September 1, the Northwest/Arctic Region’s Auburn campus officially became a COVID-19 testing site for King County. A section of the campus, near the water tower, is now populated with hundreds of orange traffic cones and white tents.
Inside the tents, regional fire department staff and King County Health officials are testing people for COVID-19 in a drive-up service.
For Region 10, when the call came from King County to possibly use the site in early August, it was a no-brainer to find a way to help the community. Supervisory Asset Manager, Sara Browning is one of the team members to help get the project off the ground on the federal side.
“It’s good government to help in a situation like this,” Browning said. “In a pandemic we felt this was good for the community and we had the land so we wanted to do what we could to help out.”
It wasn’t an easy process to make this happen. Something like this had never been proposed as a use for the federal Auburn campus. GSA, along with officials from King County, Valley Regional Fire Authority, and King County Sheriff’s office came together to find a way to make this a reality.
For GSA, teams comprised of facilities, planning, contracting, legal and senior leadership met several times to make it work.
“There were some huge hurdles we had to overcome,” added Browning. “We needed to ensure it was going to be safe and secure for everyone involved and coordinating with several different city and county agencies can always be challenging.”
At the end of the day, an agreement was reached to use the southern portion of the property for testing. The timeline is indefinite as King County may convert the site from a testing location to an inoculation location when a vaccine is developed at a later date.
The testing site involves people driving in, clearing a security checkpoint, then advancing to a station where, in their cars, someone from the fire district or King County Health will administer the test through the car window. Six lanes have been set up for the free test.
The entire project team included: Team Lead, Jenny Mayo, Planning; Matt Nadeau and Dwayne Smith, Facilities; Sara Browning, Planning; Stan Catchpole, Planning/contracting; Leah Wright, Legal; and Lisa Pearson and Chaun Benjamin, PBS Senior Leadership Team Support.
Once an agreement was reached with King County, Browning said the experience left her feeling very good about the project and how it came together.
“It was overwhelming how positive and collaborative everyone was working together,” Browning said. “The stakes were so high and we had to turn this around so quickly but it happened because everyone worked together so well.”
For more information on the testing locations visit: King County COVID-19 Testing Sites.