GCU Begins Production of PPE Manufacturing, Will House First Responders at GCU Hotel

Rick McCartney

Grand Canyon University is contributing to coronavirus relief efforts in its community in a multitude of ways.

GCU will begin production next week of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and respirators, for both its campus and community partners. It is providing housing in GCU Hotel for first responders who are serving on the front lines in the fight against this pandemic. And it is in discussions with the Phoenix Veterans Administration Medical Center to use the Canyon Activities Center as an overflow area for non-COVID patients.

“These are unprecedented times that are creating hardships for many in our community,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “We feel blessed to be able to demonstrate our Christian spirit and provide these resources to alleviate some of those concerns.”

Personal protective equipment

GCU will utilize its 3D printers and its merchandise company, Canyon Promotions, to produce cotton face masks, plastic face shields and respirators. The personal protective equipment will be used initially to fill the needs on GCU’s campus of health-care workers, Public Safety officers, food service employees and students. The University then will offer the PPE, at cost, to its partners in the health-care industry and City of Phoenix to address the Valley-wide shortage of that equipment.

“Our employees feel blessed that they work for an organization that is still fully employing people and that has the capabilities to allow them to work from home, and they have been asking for ways in which they can pay it forward and serve the community,” Mueller said. “To help offset the costs of the PPE, Grand Canyon University and Grand Canyon Education are each matching any donations made by our employees, and we’re looking for corporate partners who are willing to match that as well.”

GCU can immediately begin producing more than 1,000 face masks per week and roughly 700 shields or respirators per week. The University also is purchasing 10 additional 3D printers to further ramp up production.

GCU Hotel

GCU Hotel, which closed on March 23 because of COVID-19, is being used to house first responders from Phoenix Police, the Phoenix Fire Department, the Peoria Fire Department and potentially health-care workers from GCU’s partners.

These first responders are serving on the front lines in the fight against this pandemic. By making the hotel available, they now have a place to stay if they do not want to take that risk of infection back home to their families.

First responders began checking into the hotel on Thursday night.

“We are grateful that GCU continues to support our members by providing temporary lodging for those police officers that must continue to serve the community and cannot shelter in place,” said Britt London, President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. “GCU Hotel has helped ease the minds of our first responder families. Thank you.”

Canyon Activities Center

The Canyon Activities Center, a 136,000-square-foot facility that houses 10 full-size basketball and volleyball courts for student use, has been closed during the pandemic as the University adheres to social-distancing guidelines put forth by federal and state health authorities.

Representatives of the Phoenix VA will make a site-assessment visit on Monday to determine if it can be used as an Alternate Care Site where overflow non-COVID patients can seek medical care. That would free up the hospital to devote space and manpower to coronavirus patients.

“Our hope is that these efforts can provide comfort and relief to those who are impacted by this pandemic,” Mueller said. “It is incumbent on all of us working together to deal with these challenges with grace, humility and a spirit of service toward others.”

Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 240 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals.

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