Hospital awning

A drive-thru carport from Portagrace Manufacturing is set up at Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville, where people can be tested for the virus without leaving their cars.

When a construction company in Indiana contacted a local carport manufacturer a couple of weeks ago, the local company, PortaGrace Manufacturing on North Main Street, realized that it had an opportunity to make a difference in the fight against COVID-19.

Danco Construction Inc. of Evansville contracted with PortaGrace, asking the local manufacturer to build an 80-foot-long structure for Evansville’s Deaconess Midtown Hospital.

“They were using it as a patient drop-off, an emergency off-site building to keep infected people out of the hospital,” said Ben Fraley, the manager of PortaGrace Manufacturing.

Fraley said that initial drop-off facility has been followed by two other opportunities in the wake of the coronavirus, including a drive-thru carport for Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville, where people can be tested for the virus without leaving their cars.

The lone manufacturer that PortaGrace has built a structure for, an aerospace contractor for the government also located in Muhlenberg County, wanted its facility so it could screen people at the gate, i.e., employees and guests who could be tested before coming onto the site.

Fraley said his company has probably had around 10 inquiries in the past two weeks, and he sees a situation going forward where PortaGrace could work with health care and manufacturing facilities to create these structures for their use in the wake of the coronavirus.

Some companies are still figuring out exactly how they’d use such structures, Fraley noted.

He said PortaGrace’s products are versatile, easy and quick to put up, with a turn-around time of days rather than weeks. Companies can use them for any need they have, Fraley added.

He predicted that health care companies will continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus likely through the winter of next year, and he thinks these companies will want facilities like those his company produces that can serve as more than temporary structures.

“This isn’t going to go away in the blink of an eye,” the manager noted, adding that the onset of the virus is affecting the way people operate and the way they do things in their lives.

“We’re just trying to serve the community and western Kentucky as best as possible,” he said.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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