BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards will tour LSU’s new large-scaled personal protective equipment distribution operation on Friday, April 17 before his daily press conference, which will be held at 3 p.m.
LSU employees began large-scale production of PPE Monday, April 13 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) as part of the university’s statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
University officials say the PPE produced in the PMAC will go directly to the medical personnel on the front lines of the pandemic.
LSU employees are working with physicians in New Orleans and Shreveport to develop and produce heavy-duty, reusable gowns and face shields.
Officials say Lamar Advertising and Circle Graphics donated the vinyl materials needed to make the gowns and Baker Hughes donated materials and design feedback for the masks.
“At every pivotal moment in our history, the LSU community has come together for the good of our state and our nation,” said LSU Interim President Tom Galligan. “What’s happening today is an example of our university’s unwavering commitment to providing solutions to the most challenging problems facing society. I am proud of the outstanding and innovative work being conducted by our faculty, staff and students in the face of such great adversity.”
“We are proud to see the response being rallied at LSU,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Not only is the flagship ramping up PPE production and testing capabilities, but the Health Sciences Centers in New Orleans and Shreveport are doing a phenomenal job of treating and testing as well. The entirety of the LSU family has responded to this health crisis and are making a difference for the people of Louisiana through their innovation and commitment.”
Officials say the gown project began in the garage of LSU Medical Physics Program Director Wayne Newhauser.
Newhauser worked with LSU biomedical engineering student Meagan Moore and the Bella Bowman Foundation in developing prototypes for gowns and other PPE.
The university’s COVID-19 response team assessed the gown design and determined it could be scaled and began assembling a cross-campus team to bring the gowns into production.
LSU officials say they are taking extensive measures to ensure the safety of its employees and the production environment in the PMAC.
University personnel from Athletics, Facility Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Emergency Operations, Industry Engagement, and Research & Economic Development worked together to quickly turn the PMAC into a safe space for fabricating PPE.
Officials say the production is truly a cross-campus effort. The Theater Department donated sewing machines. Facility Services worked with the College of Engineering’s Advanced Manufacturing and Machining Facility (AMMF), to fabricate custom metal stencils for the gowns. The Athletics department facilitated the use of the PMAC and helping out with logistics and communications. and Environmental Health & Safety designed a safe and operational space that facilitates scaled production.
Coca-Cola Baton Rouge will be donating drinks for those working in the PMAC.
Officials say LSU will continue to use all of its resources and expertise to help with Louisiana’s response to COVID-19.
“Crises like the one we face today illustrate why research universities exist,” added Galligan. “We will make it through this pandemic by working together and ensuring that LSU’s efforts from Shreveport to New Orleans make it to those on the front lines of this fight.”
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