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BUSINESS NEWS WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF FIRST 5 CENTER IN VALLEJO Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced construction is complete on the new Vallejo First 5 Center located at 3375 Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo, California. Ware Malcomb provided interior architecture and design services for the project. The new 7,500 square foot Vallejo First 5 Center, located within the Vallejo Plaza Shopping Center, is an innovative hub created to engage low income families in the community and provide a space for children to play, learn and grow. The facility includes children’s classrooms, a board room, conference rooms, open office space, meeting/huddle rooms, and family restrooms. The focal point of the space is a large indoor playground featuring a

fantasy theme of bugs and the outdoors. The playground includes wood logs and a giant mushroom house for kids to explore. “The goal of the Vallejo First 5 Center was to create a safe and welcoming environment for the families they serve, while also making it fun and playful for kids,” said Gary Drew, regional vice president of Ware Malcomb’s Pleasanton office. “It was exciting to design a space that meets all of the First 5 Center’s diverse needs, so that they can in turn meet the needs of local families for many years to come.” The Vallejo First 5 Center staff and community partners provide support for parents through workshops and classes, as well as connecting families to community resources. The Center offers over 20 classes each month for families including art, science, cooking, dance, music,

movement, baby sign language, preparing for kindergarten, and story time. Services and programs are provided at no cost. The general contractor for the project was Underwood Construction. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a contemporary and expanding full service design firm providing professional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering, branding, and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. With office locations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/institutional facilities and renovation projects.

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through window for customer service; and incorporating specialized negative pressure ventilation in some settings, such as for aerosol-generation procedures in airborne infection isolation rooms and specialized autopsy suites. However, OSHA then gets more general again in discussing topics such as hand-washing instructions, signage in restrooms and wearing of personal protective equipment – all nice to know, but this level of information is almost intuitive to facility and business owners. What they want – and need – are specifics. CALLING FOR A STANDARD OF CARE. Right now, the industry needs the ADAAG equivalent of design guidelines for COVID-19, identifying how-to information to lay out spaces, select materials, and install systems that mitigate exposure to current and future contagions. In the absence of this guidance, the market is becoming saturated with individual firms’ thoughts on best practices and what our post-pandemic workplace will look like. Granted, the ideas these firms share are great, but what facility and business owners truly need is concrete, codelike standards developed by the brightest in each sector of the building industry, debated and adopted as the “standard of care.” The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry association, ASHRAE, is moving in that direction with its newly assembled Epidemic Task Force. This group aims to produce much-needed guidance to help hospitals and clinics cope with COVID-19 cases and ventilation, but the release timeline is unknown. Once a design standard for buildings is published and adopted into law, whether at federal or local levels, facility and business owners can rely on the resulting design minimums to create spaces that mitigate and prevent the spread of contagious diseases. Until we have the collective knowledge of industry specialists to guide designs and budgets like the ADA does, we must rely on individual approaches to best practices to provide a safe workplace for employees and others. WILLIAM QUATMAN, FAIA, Esq., is general counsel and senior vice president at Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. He can be reached at

facility and business owners were faced with another challenge: wondering what new design standards would be required for workplaces and habitable spaces to mitigate the risk of communicable diseases like COVID-19. If the ADA is any guidance, it may be years before nationwide standards are published and adopted. Some well-intentioned national organizations have provided high-level recommendations, such as Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; Comprehensive Hospital Preparedness Checklist for Coronavirus Disease 2019 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; or the Preparedness Assessment Tool and Re-occupancy Assessment Tool from the American Institute of Architects. However, all lack specific design details, like those found in ADAAG. Instead, this guidance emerging during the pandemic paints in broad brush strokes about things like: ❚ ❚ Developing infectious disease preparedness and response plans. ❚ ❚ Preparing to implement basic infection prevention measures. ❚ ❚ Developing policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick people, if appropriate. ❚ ❚ Developing, implementing, and communicating about workplace flexibilities and protections. ❚ ❚ Implementing workplace controls. Certainly, discussion of broad topics such as physical distancing, contact transfer, aerosols, and waterborne contaminants are helpful, but they are not specific enough to guide a facility or business owner on exactly what to do. OSHA does delve deeper into highly sought-after information for engineering controls, such as installing high-efficiency air filters; increasing ventilation rates in the work environment; installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards; installing a drive-

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