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Summer Update

This summer has flown by.  I had great intentions of sharing all kinds of things about what's been going on in Facility Services, but I ended up getting caught up in it and then also took time for vacation and ended up unfortunately silent.


So now, after Spec, Facility Services is geared to getting ready for the fall semester.


Crews are working on cleaning classrooms and residence hall rooms.  Furniture is moving around to accommodate the residence life plan for each room.  Used wardrobes have been purchased and are being placed in rooms in the basement of Graybill for Tiona house.  New partial block walls have been built in several of those rooms to create spaces intended for two rather than 4 or 6.


The center court floor in Closson Center has had some paint work done around the perimeter, as well as in some lettering in the floor.  Then the floor received sealer and is being given time to dry and cure.


I can't begin to count all the places that have received new coats of paint this summer.  I wish I could tell you how many gallons we've gone through as a measure of their work.  I know the exteriors of the 520 and 620 College Ave houses have, or will have, received fresh coats of paint in a paint scheme to match the new apartment buildings.


Housekeepers have given deep cleaning attention to various buildings around campus.  The floors through the Library were cleaned and waxed as well as the windows getting cleaned.  They even cleaned out the window wells for the basement windows.


They've managed to make their way around to several buildings, cleaning floors and windows as they go.  I'm specifically aware that Shaw Center and Helene Center are on that list, but it wouldn't surprise me to know that others have been cleaned just as well.


And I shouldn't ignore the fact that many camps have come and gone throughout the summer, so the crews have spent a fair amount of time cleaning and preparing rooms, and re-preparing those rooms for the next group, as well as keeping the Commons and MSC and other places clean and usable for the camps as well as preparing for the incoming fall students.


The Baughman Athletic Building has been an ongoing task to complete and it is very nearly there.  The wrestling room is largely complete and turned over Zack Mullins to prepare for his wrestlers.  The locker room has a few minor things to be completed.  The laundry room is waiting for washers and dryers to arrive from our contracting company so they can be installed.  The batting cage/pitching cage area will be completed by Brady McKillip, with our crew's assistance as needed.


Other crews have worked on a list too long to count of maintenance tasks that have needed attention.  Camps have had needs and Facility Services has responded.


As summer wraps up, there are a few things in the works.


Walker Hall is being tuckpointed on its south and east faces.  Tuckpointing is a process to grind out the mortar joints between bricks, clean and reapply fresh mortar to the joint.  This accomplishes two things.  First it is intended to be water tight so any areas on those sides of the building that had previously experienced water coming into the building should no longer see that.  Second, it is cosmetic.  Although there is still a wash process to complete, the farthest north end of the east wall is basically complete.  The mortar joints look much better than those on the farthest south end.


This crew is moving along very well, but will likely still be completing the project even after students arrive and classes begin.  They've said it could be early September before they are done, but they've also taken steps to shorten that (including setting up a second scaffold and adding more crew members).


Landscaping is being done around Tess Morgan, as well as a triangle of land between Tess Morgan, Walker and the Fitz.  These projects are donor driven and will make a much nicer appearance around the building as it did last year around Walker.


The tennis courts are receiving some much needed attention.  We've been assured this is a very temporary fix, but will make our courts usable at least for practice, if not competition, for several years.  They've told me several times we need to be diligent about filling cracks each spring and fall and we can maintain nice courts for another 5 years or so.  Hopefully we'll have a long term plan in place by then.


The artificial turf field is going to be rejuvenated tomorrow (Wednesday, August 6).  I can't adequately describe what they'll do, but the field shouldn't end up laying so flat when they are done.  If memory serves, they claim another couple of years of life out of the turf while we establish our replacement plan for it as well.


The big disruptor will be the steam line project running through the center of campus.  We'd hoped to do it earlier in the summer but after getting engaged in the project learned of a 6 week lead time on custom building the pipe needed for what is being done.  That puts the shipping date (not arrival date!) on August 15.  Given that, starting next week, our crews will begin digging up key points that need to be exposed and starting to create the trench used to bury the new steam line and condensate return line.  They speak like this should go quickly, less than two weeks.  But I'm still afraid we'll have the center of campus torn up as new students arrive and begin their classes.


I know there are countless things that have gone on this summer that I haven't mentioned.  I specifically avoided mentioning names because I'd accidentally leave someone out and every person who works in Facility Services has worked hard all summer, student workers included, to accomplish the many things they have.  And I've learned a lot in the process, including making mistakes (like allowing some projects to run into the school year).  But we'll continue to work hard and I'll figure out how to keep that from happening in the future.


Jim M

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