The National Guard was on Keene State’s campus on Monday, March 30, and Tuesday, March 31, to set up an alternative care site at the college. 

According to Keene Mayor George Hansel, there is currently one alternative care site on campus, but four others are ready to go if needed. 

The alternative care facility will be located in the Keene State Recreation Center Gym,” Hansel said. “Several other dorms around campus may be used to house first responders and healthcare workers. There is no current need for us to use any Keene State facilities for this emergency. The planning and setup of these options is precautionary.”

KSC President Melinda Treadwell said the other dorms on campus that may be used include Holloway, One Butler Court, Pondside One and the LLC.

KSC assisted with this process in more ways than just offering the space.

“Along with providing facilities, logistics and administrative support to this effort, college administrators and staff have fully participated in the emergency planning process,” Hansel said. “I’ve always known that Keene State is a tremendous asset to the broader community.”

As for who will be using these emergency spaces if needed, that decision is up to the Cheshire Medical Center.

“Anyone treated in this facility would need to be referred by the Cheshire Medical Center campus. They will be Cheshire Medical patients. It is important to note that area hospitals work closely together to meet the needs of the entire community,” Hansel said. 

These alternative care sites are precautionary and are not currently in active use. They are meant to serve essential healthcare personnel who are at risk and may need a location to stay while awaiting test results. They can serve up to 200 patients. 

“The goal there is for the employees who are supporting the alternate care sites to have space, and then for the city and the county to have places where if any first responders are exposed and awaiting test results and need to be isolated that they would have space on our campus rather than in hotels,” Treadwell said. “We’re hoping again that the site never needs to go live and that no one needs to use our spaces, but we’re certainly ready, willing and able to support.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Kemal Atkins is the KSC Incident Commander for the College’s relationship with the City of Keene and the point of contact for KSC’s participation on the Regional Pandemic Response Team. 

“We hope that we don’t have to activate the site, but are glad that we’re in a position to join in the effort to support our community, if the need arises,” Atkins said. 


Rachel Vitello can be contacted at

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