Viterbo University to make residence hall available to local frontline workers

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Viterbo University recently completed its second week of online only classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While its campus and residence halls are mostly empty, next week it will open its doors to new guests and it all started with a phone call from police chief Shawn Kudron.

"One of the needs that he addressed was the potential for housing for healthcare providers at Mayo and Gundersen as well as emergency responders-- police, fire, EMS, those types of individuals," said Rick Trietley, Viterbo vice president of student affairs.

The university is opening up two floors of its Bonaventure Residence Hall starting April 14th.

"Last week we got an official request from the three organizations to offer housing to non-coronavirus diagnosed healthcare workers and responders," Trietley said.

The two floors can house around 40 people, but the university says if needed it could expand to all six floors or additional residence halls.

Viterbo hopes to provide peace of mind to those on the frontline with the rooms.

"Workers who might be concerned about being exposed to patients who might have coronavirus and then taking that to their homes or perhaps an employee who just needed a space to sleep for a few hours, to relax, maybe get a shower before they started their next shift," Trietley said.

The university says providing the space to those in need meets the founders mission for the school.

"Viterbo is committed to helping our community, to being a strong partner in the community and we look forward to building relationships and if there's anything else that we can do to help in the effort," said Trietley.

Viterbo says they'll be offering the residence hall for the foreseeable future.