Centre College’s Stuart Hall, a student residence at 517 W. Main, has a long and storied history. Completed in 1876, it has been a private home, fraternity house, funeral home, bookstore and cafe and, briefly, a language hangout. Now it can add quarantine headquarters to its long list of service.
Since the first days of the Coronavirus outbreak, officials at Centre have worked closely with Danville and Boyle County officials to coordinate efforts, in order to take every possible measure to keep members of the community safe and informed. This effort includes alternately housing all three shifts of four crew members of Danville/Boyle County Emergency Medical Services while they’re on-call, keeping them sequestered and safe, not only for the health and well-being of the EMTs and their families, but to safeguard the health of their patients.
Mike Wilder, Boyle County Emergency Management director, was acutely aware of what his team may face in the early days of the outbreak.
“We don’t have a large staff like they have in big metropolitan areas, so early on we wondered what we would do if half of our staff had to quarantine for two weeks; it could cripple our emergency services,” Wilder says. “This housing option gives our staff the opportunity to not just quarantine, but to practice social distancing as well.”
A similar plan has also been in place for the staff of Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center to use residence facilities on Centre’s campus, if needed. Fortunately, that need hasn’t materialized.
“Our facilities management staff has set EMS up with everything they need to keep their life-saving equipment charged and operating at full capacity,” says Brian Hutzley, Centre’s CFO, vice president and treasurer. “And their location right in the center of town with a large parking lot in back has given them the room they need to park their ambulances and personal vehicles.”
“I think that’s what I hear most; the response time has been cut down simply because of this central location, and that means a lot sometimes,” Wilder says.
Stuart Hall was named for John Todd Stuart, Class of 1826 (the famous alum who helped set President Abraham Lincoln on his own path to extraordinary success), and was dedicated in 2007. That same year, the Kentucky Historical Society dedicated a historical highway marker in front of the building honoring Stuart.
In 2020, “safe haven” can be added to the distinguished history of Stuart Hall.
by Cindy Long
May 5, 2020
Above: Danville/Boyle County EMS 3rd Platoon