Skip to content

My First Day with Building Maintenance

Written 3/7/2014

The next crew I was privileged to work with was building maintenance. These guys do everything. Broken blinds? Stuck door or window? Painting? Pouring cement? Yep, they do all that and more.


With the crisis management team's efforts for the campus to be prepared to lockdown for an emergency, we realized that some buildings had been re-keyed such that most of the occupants can't lock the exterior doors. We're changing that and I was able to work with Brad Walderbach on the first building.


Brad did an excellent job explaining in detail that I could understand how our Medeco keys and locks work. He showed me the 3 different types of cylinders we use on campus and explained where each was most commonly used. Then he showed me how they come apart and all the small pieces that go into a functioning lock. Perhaps most importantly, he showed me how it was possible for us to create keys that open some doors and not others, and different keys that open some of the same doors, but not all. I found it very enlightening.


The best part of that was actually building the lock cylinders for the exit devices (that's the correct term for what we tend to think of as crash bars or panic bars) on the exterior doors. Patroness has 5 exterior doors, so we made 5 of the same lock. Brad made the first to show me how to do it, then I made the other 4. Then we tested them with a master key and the building entry and exit key.


Afterward, although it wasn't necessary, he showed me how to cut a Medeco key. That was pretty cool too. I may never have another occasion to do that, but I'm glad I did it once.


Finally, we finished our morning together installing these new lock cylinders in the 5 doors in Patroness. That was also interesting, to see how the door exit devices come apart to allow the lock cylinder to work.


I'm very thankful to Brad for showing me all that. I hope I can retain half of what he said to me today.


Unfortunately, I planned poorly today and didn't eat lunch at the same time as everyone else, so I was late getting back to join Matt Mamminga and Nathan Craig "running work orders." That's what they call it when they are just doing the normal daily service requests that we all submit that ends up in their work queue. They started the afternoon replacing a large glass window in the lower hallway between the Closson field house and the Athletic Training offices. I arrived in time to see them cleaning the installed product (I just missed telling Matt to use the purple juice! :-) ), but I did get to help with the broken glass cleanup.


I then went with them on a few other work orders, including a malfunctioning door strike plate on one Tower apartment, some broken mini-blinds in Thomas Apartments (which turns out had been fixed but the broken blinds needed to be retrieved) and a failing handicap shower seat on Graybill Hall 3rd floor shower. These were all pretty simple fixes for these guys, but I was glad to see them in action.


Again unfortunately my poor planning struck and I had to leave early for some family commitments for the weekend. So I'll look forward to a return to their crew when I can spend more time running around doing what they do all day. And I further hope I've taken another step to earning "we" instead of "they."


Jim M

Back to main screen