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UVA Crew's Creative Re-Use of Materials


With so much discouraging news, it’s easy to lose sight of the many positive things happening around us.  Case in point, the creative re-use of building materials underway at the University of Virginia.

When the COVID pandemic hit, UVA’s bookstore asked the maintenance department for plexiglass to protect cashiers from coughing and sneezing customers. Supervisor Warren “Hubba” Wood began the search for clear plastic sheets and discovered that other universities, hospitals and commercial enterprises were also in the market.

“Our local vendors here in Charlottesville ran out fast!”

He contacted five different vendors and was able to get a hundred sheets, but demand across campus was growing when supervisor Shawn Ragland had an idea.

“I was sitting here at lunch one day and it just hit me. “Man, we’ve got all the plexiglass down at Alderman that we need.’”

Alderman library is being renovated, and about 200 sheets of plexiglass were coming down.

“The plexiglass has been there since 1983. They had put it up over the drafty windows, and I knew we were under renovation, and I was like ‘We can just take the plexiglass down, since they were going to destroy it anyway.’”

UVA also made cough and sneeze guards for the local board of elections to protect voters and poll workers during Tuesday’s primary.  Wood says it was an unusual project.

“In this day and time, I don’t know what usual is anymore.”

But he and Ragland are happy to be of service during a public health emergency and are gearing up to install more cough and sneeze guards as UVA prepares to welcome students in late August.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief