Make that two on-campus COVID-19 testing centers for Iowa State University.
Iowa State University opened its second on-campus testing site Monday at Johnny's inside Hilton Coliseum, which will now serve as the "primary testing site" for Iowa State students, faculty and staff according to Erin Baldwin, assistant vice president for Student Health Services.
Baldwin said most patients will have testing done at Hilton, "with the exception of patients seen at Thielen for an appointment where testing is deemed necessary."
Baldwin added that the decision to pursue a new testing site at Hilton Coliseum was made in part because the university wanted to find a weather-appropriate option, as the outdoor testing site at Thielen Student Health Center was best used in the summer months.
In an email on Aug. 31, Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen announced that an additional on-campus testing site would be established to meet the increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Ames since the start of the fall semester.
Heather Paris, the test site leader at Johnny's, said the site will be staffed by employees from Finance Service Delivery filling the roles of appointment scheduling, line manager, registration and supervisor. Some staff will be reassigned from Thielen Student Health Center to perform the testing.
Paris also outlined some important info for those who to wish to get tested at Hilton Coliseum should know:
- Patients should use the ramp and enter the testing center through the Johnny’s door on the East side of Hilton Coliseum.
- Parking spots are near the entrance and available for those being tested. Parking is available on the East side of Hilton Coliseum. No parking passes are needed.
- For individuals using CyRide, there will be drop-off only stops on the Orange and Plum routes. The Orange route will let off on the South side of C.Y. Stephens Auditorium and Plum will stop on University Avenue on the southbound leg. Both of these stops will be by request only, so you need to alert the drivers when you board the bus.
- For students, bring your student ID card and email confirmation showing completion of the questionnaire with you to the site. The greeters will ask to see these upon entry at Hilton Coliseum.
- Face coverings are required.
Appointments at the testing site at Hilton will work similar to the testing site in place at Thielen Student Health Center. An appointment is required to go to the site and can be made by calling 515-294-5801 or online. Those who wish to make an appointment will also need to fill out a pretesting questionnaire.
Kristen Obbink, Iowa State's COVID-19 public health coordinator, said the addition of another on-campus testing center gives Iowa State a better approach to expand testing capacity and stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the campus community.
Obbink said the testing site will operate Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
The testing site resides inside of Johnny's at Hilton Coliseum.
Johnny's is a sports bar reserved for donors to Iowa State Athletics inside Hilton Coliseum since the 2010-11 basketball season, named in honor of former Iowa State men's basketball coach Johnny Orr. Orr passed away in 2013 and coached the Cyclones from 1981-1994.
But given the unique location of the new testing site, the reality of athletic events returning for Iowa State, including Iowa State volleyball games inside Hilton Coliseum, is something still being addressed.
How will the testing site operate during days of home matches where more outside forces will be present around campus and around Hilton? Obbink said those plans are still being worked out.
"The university is working with the athletic department on scheduling," Obbink said. "There may be some modifications to hours, but those should be minimal."
As to how the plan of using an athletic department facility to add more testing capacity on campus came about, Obbink said it was a collaborative effort.
"The university worked with the athletic department to identify a space that was accessible for students, faculty and staff, and could accommodate the needs of the testing facility.
"At this time, there are no plans to open another testing center on campus."