Covid-19 Adaptation Projects

by Ophelia Wilkins

Covid-19 has challenged all of us to re-evaluate our relationship to shared interior spaces. Some of our clients have had to adapt their facilities to modify their operations. For two of our clients, SFO and The Bay School, we have developed solutions to meet their immediate needs with an eye towards enhancing their long-term operational goals. Below is a sample of these Covid-response projects.

Seamless Adaptation at San Francisco International Airport  |  San Francisco, California; Joint Venture with SOM and TSAO Design Group

Kuth Ranieri is currently working on the renovation of the International Terminal Building security checkpoints, holdrooms and restrooms in a JV partnership with SOM (50%) and TSAO Design Group (23%). Operations at the International Terminal, and throughout the airport campus, have had to rapidly adapt to changes in travel while upholding SFO’s exceedingly high standards for a hospitality-oriented guest experience.

Temporary Protective Barriers:


Information Desk Protective Screens

After completing 100% CD documents for the design of two Information Desks in the main hall of the International Terminal, SFO asked us to add protective screens. In keeping with their discerning design standards, these screens were to be seamlessly integrated into the design and detailed to be removable or re-installed.

Status:     Pending



Adaptation for Today and the Future at the Bay School of San Francisco  |  San Francisco, California

Kuth Ranieri is leading the development of a 20-year master plan for The Bay School of San Francisco, a private secondary school housed in an historic army barracks in the Presidio. When Covid hit, the school shifted its focus to the immediate concerns of when and how to bring students back into the main building. It quickly became apparent that a number of improvements The Bay School desired in the long term were immediately relevant to meeting virus-control guidelines. For example, they desire greater flexibility through adaptable spaces that easily transform from seminars to small group learning and breakout spaces. This adaptability also supports current needs for controlled separation and social distancing. The Bay School extended our contract to implement the following improvements.

Flexible Separation of Social Spaces:

Science Lab Operable Partitions

We designed an installation of operable acoustic partitions in two large Science Labs that allows a small classroom to be fully closed off and acoustically separated, or fully open as a large lab or classroom. These 9’-4” tall movable partitions have a porcelain-enameled steel surface on both sides (i.e. whiteboard) and inset clerestory glazing.

Status:     Completed January 2021


Great Room Divider

Two grand spaces on the ground floor – the Great Room and Dining Room – are at the heart of all campus activities. These rooms are currently contiguous with a 23’ x 13’ opening between them. During normal operation, these rooms host a whole-community gathering each day in Morning Meeting, then diverge into functions. If the rooms could be separated, they could serve as overflow classrooms during Covid, and in normal operation could host discrete functions after each day’s meeting. To meet this need, we are designing a giant pocket door system that divides these rooms when needed, then completely tucks away to maintain the familiar grand open space.

Status:    Completed January 2021

Indoor Air Quality for Health and Learning:

HVAC Assessment

Our consultant Engineering 350 is providing an assessment of the ventilation system (mechanical on two floors and natural on 2 floors plus ancillary spaces). The report provides specific recommendations for maximizing air quality and controlling the spread of Covid-19 to the degree feasible, such as transitioning to 100% outdoor air contribution for mechanically-ventilated spaces with MERV 14 filtration and procuring off-the-shelf air circulation and filtration devices for naturally-ventilated classroom spaces (MERV 13 or 14).

Recommendations specific to an immediate virus control strategy are not necessarily consistent with long-term best practices for energy-efficient solutions to providing clean air. However, the very conversation around ventilation is bringing to light the value of fresh air to the physical and mental well-being of students in support of focus and learning.

Status:     Recommendations completed; implementation in-progress by Campus Facilities

Touchless Amenities:

Updated Filtered Water Stations

Touchless Filtered Water Stations

Water fountains at Bay do not currently provide filtered water. We recommended feasible products for doing a one-for-one replacement with new units that provide ADA-compliant bi-level fountains with filtered water and touchless bottle filling at four interior locations and one exterior.

Status:     Completed January 2021



Toto Helix faucets are hands-free using hydro-power instead of batteries or wiring

Hands-Free Restrooms

We recommended hands-free restroom fixtures to replace existing faucets, soap dispensers and towel dispensers. We prioritized durability, selecting products that minimized disposable battery waste and maintenance time, while also providing budget-conscious alternatives as appropriate.

Status:     Recommendations completed; installation in-progress by Campus Facilities



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