A COVID-19 quarantine and isolation center for Tabor College students will be set up in the old Hillsboro hospital, 701 S. Main St., before students arrive Aug. 5.
Hillsboro’s city council voted Tuesday to approve a memorandum of understanding needed by Tabor College to work with Mennonite Disaster Services in getting the isolation and quarantine center set up before classes open next month.
City attorney Josh Boehm will write a more formal agreement to clarify liability issues before the council’s Aug. 4 meeting.
MDS may begin working on the site before the formal agreement is approved.
“They will be bringing in a work crew to help us get ready to use it,” Tabor president Jules Glanzer said.
The former hospital, one end of the Salem Home building, is closed off from the nursing home, city administrator Matt Stiles told council members.
The building will hold 18 students. Glanzer said expected enrollment is 500 to 550.
Salem Home CEO Peter Mungai confirmed he would be fine with Tabor using the building.
Under terms of the agreement between the city and the college, the city will pay the costs of making the property functional, including servicing and recharging a fire sprinkler system. Tabor will be responsible for costs of housing students in the building. Tabor will not pay rent but will pay utilities and expenses such as meals.
Stiles expects a grant being sought by the city to reimburse it for its costs.
Glazer said students arriving at the campus will be screened and tested for the virus. Students who test positive will be encouraged to go home if possible. Those who are unable to go home will go to the quarantine center.
“They’ll each have their own room and they’ll have to stay in that room,” Glazer said.
Students staying at the quarantine center will be monitored, Glanzer said.
“We can keep Tabor safe and we can keep the county safe,” Glanzer said.
Tabor football players are scheduled to arrive Aug. 5, other athletes Aug. 7, and freshmen Aug. 14.