A Campus Update: Reaching Milestones & Reaffirming Commitments
If you’ve driven through downtown Columbus recently, you’ve likely noticed rapid development near Interstate 670 and State Route 315. Not only is the new Columbus Crew stadium rising in the west end of the Arena District, but there’s also a burst of development in Franklinton.
That includes the new CoverMyMeds campus, which is on track to open in the spring of 2021. We’ve made remarkable progress on our campus, and we’re reaching exciting milestones as we move further into summer.
Concrete work is complete on the first campus building, and construction crews are laser-focused on putting the finishing touches on the glass curtain wall — essentially, a facade of windows. The next phase of work will transition from the exterior to the interior.
First on the list: installing the mechanical systems, like heating, cooling, electric and plumbing.
Pressing Forward Despite COVID-19
Our employees and leadership team have built a strong, healthy and successful business, and we remain committed to our Franklinton campus as part of our long-term plan for the future.
“We believe we are doing the right thing for our people by creating the best place to work and grow and for our community by investing in and creating opportunity for our neighbors,” said Michael Bukach, senior manager of employee engagement. “This is essential and we’re not going to pause on progress if we have the capability to honor our commitment to our growing staff and the community.”
It’s the CoverMyMeds way to lean on our core values which guide us to embrace challenges and achieve results through our work. Our campus project is no different.
“Our spirit of innovation allows us to build a campus that’s rarely done so remarkably,” said Lars Johansson, director of campus operations. “The decisions we’re making and the solutions we’re coming up with are focused on creating an environment that’s a destination for our people and something special we can share with the community.”
The outdoor space is a great example. We’re making decisions that are based on what matters to us. That includes applying employee feedback to build a unique experience.
“We want our backyard to be a canvas that evolves and develops along with us,” Bukach said. “It’s sort of like a ‘choose your own adventure’ opportunity for our staff to help guide the decisions we make about amenities and features.”
By repurposing existing office fixtures — from our standing desks and community-space furniture to our collection of thrifted mugs — and taking them with us, we’re creating a familiar home environment. Limiting new purchases aligns with our sustainability practices and efforts to re-use when possible.
We also set out to create a healthy, sustainable workplace by aiming for both [LEED and WELL certifications] (https://www.covermymeds.com/main/insights/articles/covermymeds-campus-update-spotlight-on-sustainability/). Many of these design requirements align with workplace best practices amid a pandemic that are recommended by architecture industry leaders, like [Perkins&Will] (https://perkinswill.com/road-map-for-return/), and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/office-buildings.html).
Our HVAC system will utilize air quality sensors and scrubber technology — similar to those found on the space shuttle and submarines — to significantly reduce pollutants, including those that come from the outdoors when circulating fresh air through the building. This system also lowers humidity levels which [makes it more difficult for pathogens to survive] (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7165615/).
We can also reduce density on our campus, if necessary. Monument stairs will reduce our reliance on elevators and provide easy access to ample outdoor workspaces from every floor in the building. An abundant grid of utilities — including power and data ports — will allow for easy reconfiguration of any space to a suitable layout.
“We believe that innovation requires flexibility, and this allows us to adjust based on our evolving needs. Each smaller section throughout the building, which we call neighborhoods, will have ample access to dedicated amenities — such as hydro bars and restrooms — which also reduces traffic,” said Johansson. “We’re also installing a variety of touchless systems to reduce shared surfaces and using smooth, hard finishes which are easier to sanitize.”
We’re adding an abundance of living plants to indoor areas of our campus, too. This concept, known as [biophilia] (https://www.oliverheath.com/biophilic-design-connecting-nature-improve-health-well/), is linked to decreased stress, enhanced creativity and accelerated recovery from illness.
“The campus is going to have a ‘jungle room’ kind of quality in some places,” Johansson said. “Our Environments team created fun, award-winning greenspaces in our current offices with army men and dinosaurs. They’re planning to deck out the greenspaces in our new home with spectacular hidden surprises, too.”
Connecting with the Community
We’re also making progress to connect our campus to the community through infrastructure improvements, like biking and walking paths. Recently, we began conversations with local governments, community organizations and area businesses about ways we can work together to make collective change that benefits the neighborhood.
We all have the same goal: to make the entire Franklinton neighborhood more accessible in a way that benefits both the community and our people.
“We all have the same goal: to make the entire Franklinton neighborhood more accessible in a way that benefits both the community and our people,” Bukach said. “We’re also talking with members of our Alternative Commuting and Environmental Sustainability (ACES) group to see how we can contribute with the CoverMyMeds spirit of innovation.”
Despite complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to give back and honor our commitments to the community.
“Through our support of Jewish Family Services for Workforce Development, nearly 150 people have been able to secure new employment during a time when so many have been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours cut,” said Kate Bauer, community engagement manager. “We’re also helping to provide Columbus City Schools students with learning opportunities by supporting the YMCA and its ‘SPARK’ STEM education program. Our support of this organization also provides families with housing, meals and childcare.”
We recently collaborated with the Columbus Urban League to support "[I am My Brother’s Keeper] (https://www.cul.org/initiatives/i-am-my-brothers-keeper-iambk/).” The program pairs boys of color throughout the City of Columbus with mentors and role models to help maximize their abilities.
We’re also supporting small businesses facing challenging times because of the pandemic. We recently purchased gift cards at Franklinton-area restaurants and distributed them to construction workers building our new campus as a “thank you” for their continued hard work.
“Many of these individuals are from out of town and facing challenging times because they’re quarantined here and making a personal sacrifice,” Bukach said. “This was a win-win way of doing what we can to care for them while also helping local businesses facing hardship.”
Learn more about our campus by exploring our [interactive website] (https://experience.covermymeds.com/new-campus-and-community-impact).