Weekly Update: Test to Protect

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Six months ago, we began working on a program called Test to Protect to provide asymptomatic pooled testing for teachers and students in preparation for in-person learning this fall.

So far, we’ve seen promising results.

To give you a quick refresher, the pooling method (which required us to get FDA approval) combines multiple patient samples and runs the test of all the samples together. If the result is negative, all samples are cleared. If they come back positive, each pooled sample is then run individually to determine which may be positive.

Why does this matter?

- It allows us to quickly test asymptomatic or otherwise healthy people
- It’s large-scale—30,000 tests per day
- It’s low-cost--$5 - $30 per test (depending on the test)
- It allows for regular testing—weekly or bi-monthly
- It’s convenient—do-it-yourself kits with a simple nasal swab

Because of the success of this partnership with the schools, we are ready to expand this to private businesses who want to take the extra precaution of getting their employees tested on a regular basis. We have partnered with Poplar Healthcare, AEL, Compass Labs, and UT Health Science Center to perform the test results.

By expanding this style of testing, we will be able to quickly determine where a potential hot spot may be and stop it before it gets out of hand.

So far, we already have 24 restaurants signed up to participate:


If you’re a business owner and would like to learn more and how to participate in the program, you can go here. Once your business is signed up, you will receive a certificate that can be hung inside your business letting your customers know your participating in the program. The certificate will be updated by the labs each time you receive your test results.

A new Ed Rice Community Center: This past Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to step back, take a short break from all the challenges this year has brought with it, and just enjoy a beautiful fall afternoon as we broke ground on the new Ed Rice Community Center.

Leading up to this build, we said we wanted to hear from the community about what they wanted to see in their new community center.

What we heard was:

  • Make something special that Frayser will be proud of
  • Create something with the highest and best use while being secure and comfortable
  • Must evoke a unique sense of Frayser that encourages diversity and multi-use of flexible spaces by all ages
  • Preserve and strengthen link between the center and the community by a building with a strong presence      
  • Build a center for Frayser, but one that can also attract use from other parts of Memphis

Well, we listened.

When the new Ed Rice Community Center is completed in 2022, it will embody all of those recommendations. It will be the first project for City of Memphis to be designed to meet LEED Silver accreditation. The new Ed Rice will have nearly 28,000 square feet; a basketball court with stage for community activities; an updated pool house (locker rooms and storage area) with heated showers; three community meeting areas, including a larger room that can be split into smaller rooms; an art studio; a workout room; a fitness studio with mats; a computer Lab; and a game room.

All of that to say—when this project is completed, the City of Memphis (and particularly residents of the Frayser community) will have a state-of-the-art facility that will raise the bar for all city-owned assets.

Big River Crossing: Recently, the team involved in the design, construction and management of the Big River Crossing Main2Main project component received an Honor Award for Big River Crossing (BRX) and its West Approach Plaza. The award was given by the TN Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) at the recent annual (virtual) Awards Banquet. This is award adds to the impressive list of previous awards the BRX has received.

Congrats to the project team for their great work:

Landscape Architecture Ritchie Smith Associates, Memphis, Tennessee (J. Ritchie Smith, ASLA; Lissa Thompson, ASLA); ETI Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee (Mark Lindstrom).
Architecture Self+Tucker Architects, Memphis, Tennessee.
Structural/Electrical Engineer HDR, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri.
Civil Engineer Buchart Horn, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.
Construction Manager Allen & Hoshall, Memphis, Tennessee.
Assistant Construction Manager Allworld Project Management LLC, Memphis, Tennessee.
General Contractor OCCI, Inc., Fulton, Missouri; Chris-Hill Construction, Memphis, Tennessee.
Protective Canopies Poligon, Holland, Michigan.
Metal Decking, Fencing, and Railing Ohio Gratings Inc., Canton, Ohio.
Decorative LED Lighting Philips Color Kinetics, Burlington, Massachusetts.
Color Concrete Domes Wausau Tile, Wausau, Wisconsin

This was one of only two Honor Awards given statewide—the other went to a project in Knoxville.

If you haven’t taken a walk or ridden your bike across the Mississippi River over Big River Crossing yet, there’s no better time than the present.

Have a great weekend!


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