The VA Medical Facility in Hines, Illinois, recently installed a new smoking shelter from Duo-Gard, the company that pioneered this industry 25 years ago and was awarded the first GSA contract for smoking shelters.
“The shelter is for our veterans who smoke and their visitors,” says Bob Squires, lead carpenter for Engineering Services at the facility. “Response has been good. Patients use it and enjoy it.”
Squires says the facility had older shelters which have been demolished. The new Duo-Gard shelter is 12 ft. by 18 ft. and features a 36 in. automatic swinging door. Quarter-inch clear tempered safety glass affords a view out the front, while 6mm translucent polycarbonate in an opal tint forms the sidewalls and back, providing privacy plus high diffused light transmission.
The VA opted for an upgraded electrical package and complete heating, ventilating and air conditioning. Bench seating is along the shelter’s sides. A standing-seam gable roof in bronze completes the shelter and matches the surrounding structures.
“If necessary, we can accommodate 12 veterans using wheelchairs,” Squires says, admitting it would be a little tight.
Duo-Gard’s founder, Al Miller, introduced smoking shelters back in 1990 after seeing veterans standing in the snow at the facility near Detroit. The shelters have been a staple product line since then. Today, about 20% of veterans smoke, according to the VA. Recent VA directive 1085 issued February 8, 2017, stipulates that smoking activity must be at least 35 feet from any entrance or building opening that could allow second-hand smoke to enter. It encourages separate smoking areas for patients and employees.
“The smoking issue has always been debated,” says Duo-Gard’s Michael Arvidson, executive vice president. “Today, 15% of Americans smoke, according to the Center for Disease Control. Customers across the broad scope of America’s commercial spectrum and hundreds of VA facilities have come to us for solutions that will help accommodate both smokers and non-smokers.”