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UTEP undertakes high-tech effort to sanitize Don Haskins Center amid pandemic

EL PASO, Texas -- Socially distant seating prevents contact at the Don Haskins Center, but UTEP staff still has to keep the arena sanitized.

To do so, event staff has added high-technology resources in order to ensure fan and player safety.

“We all had to invest a lot of money resources and time to be able to procure those machines,” says Jorge Vazquez, UTEP's Director of Special Events.

UTEP staff thought outside the box, literally, when they invested in an AirGuard, an antibacterial vaporizer used to keep confined rooms clean.

"It’s like a smoke that comes out of the machine with a disinfectant product," says Vazquez of the AirGuard cleaning process. "We leave it for a few seconds."

"Once the room is full of smoke and it’s visible to the eye. We turn it off. We close the door, let it set for a while, typically five minutes. After that we take it to another room. And we start the process again.”

The AirGuard sanitizes 14,000 square feet in five minutes, perfect for team and official locker rooms.

It’s a more tedious process in the seats, where the sanitation starts at 8 AM on game days, and is a continuous process that carries on past the buzzer.

The Haskins Center currently sits at 15% capacity, but no doubt fans are looking for a timeline as to when that will increase.

“As the vaccines rollout, I think and I know we’re gonna have more and more people," says an optimistic Vazquez.

"The reopening is going to be slowly, but it’s going to happen. The industry in general is thinking that the full reopening may happen after June-July. “

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Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.


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