Some Stats, Hard Numbers and Stray Facts About Keeping Campus Clean
Juniata’s administration and enrollment staff are fond of saying “If we can get a student to visit campus, odds are better that they’ll enroll.” Part of that mindset is attributable to Juniata’s sense of community and welcoming student body as the prospective student tours the campus. But a major selling point of any campus tour is the appearance of the campus and the buildings and for that the College entrusts an army (the nickname for College maintenance workers is “The Blue Army” for their blue shirts) of 51 dedicated custodians, groundsworkers, trades workers, heating and cooling experts and supervisors.
While the facilities staff are constantly in motion morning, noon and night (they work three shifts, seven days a week), they tend to blend in unobtrusively, save for the occasional unavoidable 8 a.m. dormitory drive-by with a power mower or leaf blower. From changing a light bulb to constructing a fashion show runway that would impress Heidi Klum, the women and men who take care of the campus are as integral to Juniata’s image as our faculty, students and sports teams.
Plus, if you need advice on painting a room, dispatching a mouse, identifying a lawn weed or just want to shoot the breeze, they’re happy to oblige. Here are some little known facts, statistics and profiles of a few of the workers.
Here Comes the Night
Number of facilities employees on the night shift.
We’ve Got Steam Heat
Number of boilers on campus—three main boilers, two smaller boilers in the gym (to heat the pool) and Ellis Hall (for cooking).
What is the only Residence Hall not heated by steam?
East Hall—it’s all electric.
Number of all-electric utility carts operated by the facilities staff.
The facilities staff turns off the main boiler system the day after Commencement. In the case of a heat wave, the College can turn heat off and on. “We watch the 15-day forecast very, very closely in the spring,” says Tristan delGuidice, director of facilities services.
How hard is it to find a leak in a steam pipe? Considering they are buried underground, very difficult. Here are three methods:
- In winter, there’s no snow around the leak.
- In spring, the grass is greener where the leak is.
- Use an infrared camera (price tag: about $5,000) for thermal imaging. The College is buying one this summer. “Fixing an underground steam line is not cheap and thermal imaging makes the leak much easier to find,” delGuidice says.
The grounds crews are responsible for:
Grounds crews are also responsible for delivering packages weighing 40 pounds or more from the post office.
Weirdest package delivered
Gym equipment for a student. “Many times the box will only say ‘Juniata College’ so we have to open it to find out where it goes,” says Jeff Meadows, grounds supervisor.
No Mow: Our New Turf Field
Non-groundskeepers think that artificial turf means no more mowing. Yes that’s true, but that doesn’t mean there’s no upkeep. Here are two things you have to do to keep your turf tip-top:
- Brushing machine—stands the fibers up straight.
- Groomer—sweeps any trash (tape, mouthpieces, uniform shreds) out. (The Groomer has a magnetic bar that collects any metal on the field.)
Winter Olympics: Cleaning Version
If it snows significantly (above a few inches) there is a ballet of snow removal that goes on, much of it before the faculty and students arrive
at the first class. Meadows says if the snow has stopped, it takes about 8 hours (from about 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.) to make the campus presentable. If the snow keeps going, so do they.
Hosts on the Machines
For snow removal Juniata uses:
- 12 people shoveling
- 6 people on big equipment
- 2 trucks with snow blades
- 1 backhoe if needed
- 4-5 mowers or other equipment that can convert to snowblowers
- 1 tractor with a spinning brush on the front
Juniata uses 15 tons of salt to keep campus ice-free. Except it’s not salt. Meadows says it’s a non-hazardous product comprised of calcium chloride and magnesium fluoride.
Worst spots for freezing or ice formation (the grounds crew constantly walk campus to keep surfaces open):
- The main brick sidewalk “bricks are porous and the surface under them makes them freeze up faster,” explains Meadows. The hardest part of the walkway is between Lesher and Kennedy’s main gym, because the large sycamores shade the area almost all day.
- The front entrance of the von Liebig Center for Science, also because the building shades the area much of the day.
Ice Storm Trivia
The two flights of steps (the flight on the Dale Hall side has been removed) going up to the entrances flanking Brumbaugh Academic Center were heated for snow removal (they have steam pipes inside them). The system only worked well for a few years and the pipes are the reason the steps were plagued with cracks and chips.
We’re in the Zone
In spring mowing season each grounds worker is responsible for all landscaping for one of five zones on campus (in winter it’s six). The landscapers switch after a month. “I want them to look for changes in the area on a regular basis,” Meadows says.
Just a Trim
Number of days it takes to mow the entire campus (two days to mow, one day to trim).
Clipped Joint Agreement
The College gives almost all its grass clippings and fallen leaves to nearby Blue Moon Farm for use as compost. The College retains a small amount to use as compost in garden beds and other areas.
Juniata uses 225 cubic yards of mulch every year. Seventy five cubic yards of mulch weighs a ton, so the College uses 3 tons annually—almost all of it unloaded by hand with rakes, hayforks and shovels.
Don’t Send Us Flowers Anymore
Juniata does no planting of annual flowers on campus. There are some perennial plantings, and the grounds crew has been using tulip bulbs in various areas.
2 cubic yards
The holding capacity of The Hustler, a landscape machine that picks up most of the leaves on campus lawns. For reference purposes it takes two loads to remove all the leaves from Oller Lawn, where Commencement is held.
Revenge of the Pods
Guess which trees are the bane of grounds crews everywhere? Sweetgum and sycamore. Both species have golfball-size seed pods that drop to the ground, causing unsightliness and the occasional turned ankle. “They don’t fall off at the same time, so it seems we are picking them up forever,” Meadows says.
Smell from Hell
The ginkho biloba tree has beautiful triangular leaves and is so hardy it can grow in urban settings. Unfortunately, it smells. Bad. The smell has been compared to a sewage treatment plant, rotten fruit and finally, vomit. Juniata has three on campus. Can you guess where?*
Top Three Trees
Jeff Meadows has favorite trees he likes to plant when replacing aging or dying trees. They are:
- Yellow Poplars
- Paperbark Maples
1, 2, tree, 4
Estimated number of trees on the central campus. Environmental scientist Dennis Johnson is assigning a student to list and map an entire inventory of all tree species on campus.
In the Weeds
Weeds grow everywhere, but at Juniata they grow best near the College’s underground steam heating lines. Particular problem areas are near South, Lesher, and the back of the von Liebig science center. Meadows doesn’t like to use excess herbicides, so the grounds workers are more diligent about removing weeds in these areas.
Seed the Days
Weight in pounds of the grass seed used to keep
lawns and athletic fields looking green. About 70 percent of the seed is used
on athletic fields.
The campus quad remains the place where the lawn takes a beating. The reason? Foot traffic compacting the soil. Meadows aerates the soil and keeps a steady schedule of seeding.
What event or activity is hardest on Juniata’s lawns? Commencement? No, the grass recovers quickly once the bleachers and chairs are removed. It’s reunions or any event where a tent is erected. “The tents block the sun, which kills the grass,” Meadows says.
Until a year ago, the grounds crew had to drive long stakes into the lawn to erect tents, which also means they had to use a backhoe to pull the stakes out. Now the College uses permanent stakes, which are sunk into the soil.
Bleachers on the Move
Number of days it takes to move and install bleachers onto Oller Lawn for Commencement.
In 2007 when a freak rainstorm interrupted Commencement, the entire event was moved indoors to the gym in 18 minutes.
The College uses an organic fertilizer made from seaweed for most of its fertilization needs, but also uses chemical fertilizers to control grubs and pre-emergent applications for weeds like dandelions.
What are the top three animal pests for Juniata? Bats, squirrels and skunks.
Not Everything is Uniform
Who are the only facilities workers who do not wear blue? Supervisors and the painters—who wear white before and after Labor Day.
Cleaning Up By the Numbers
Number of custodians taking care of residence halls and office buildings.
Number of shifts custodians work to maintain Juniata’s gleaming campus (the majority of workers work on the day shift).
Number of “trades” workers. What’s a trades worker? We have two plumbers, two carpenters, two painters (one will retire soon), an electrician, a plumber, a utility person and a preventative maintenance person.
Usually it’s one custodian per big building. All residence halls have one custodian and most of the classroom buildings have one custodian. Custodians can take care of the same residence hall or building for years if they
Every day, in residence halls custodians dust and mop halls and stairwells, clean and disinfect bathrooms, stock paper towels and toilet paper and remove trash. They also clean residence hall kitchens, lounges and entrances. They do windows, too, but not every day. “The only thing we don’t clean is student rooms,” says Jeff Andreas, assistant director in charge of operations. “We clean the student rooms at the end of the year.”
Depending on the dorm, the number of big trash cans in the hallways. Some smaller dorms only have one
Number of trashcans in a student room. Students can bring as extra trashcans if they want to.
Number of XL recycling bags used each year for recyclables.
Number of 30-gallon trashbags used every year to remove trash from buildings and residence halls.
Number of toilet paper rolls used every year in the residence halls.
Number of individual paper towels used every year in residence hall bathrooms.
Every residence hall has a kitchen. Some are used heavily, some are not used much at all. The busiest? “For some reason TNT’s kitchen is used the most,” Andreas says. “We don’t really know why.”
The custodial staff says the “character” of a dorm floor differs every year. “It can be a train wreck one year and be really clean the next year,” Andreas says.
Which residence hall is hardest to clean? Cloister. “There are so many twists and turns and stairs that it’s very hard to keep on top of,” says one custodian.
Step By Step
Hardest single cleaning job? Knox Stadium’s seats. They are fluted, which catches grime, and there are a lot of them.
After commencement, every residence hall is cleaned top to bottom. Here’s a partial list: floors scrubbed and waxed, furniture cleaned, windows done, locks checked, plumbing checked.
Things Left Behind
Most custodians say students are taking more home, or at least not leaving a lot of stuff behind. “If we find something expensive, like a camera or a laptop, we turn that into residence life. If it’s some old sneakers, those will probably be thrown out,” Andreas explains.
Number of work orders generated for maintenance in 2010.
Number of work orders completed in 2010.
Number of work orders generated for maintenance in 2011.
Number of work orders completed in 2011.
Number of work orders requested by students or staff.
Number of work orders initiated by custodians and maintenance workers.
The average time it takes to complete one work order.
Average number of jobs requested per day.
Number of work orders started per month.
Brush with Greatness
There are two painters at Juniata, Chuck Cassatt, and Barry Kelly. At some universities, the painters paint buildings on a set schedule, but at Juniata painting jobs come from requests from faculty and staff or from the Facilities supervisors.
Oddest paint requests:
- Juniata’s flagpole—silver
- The foul-territory markers on the baseball field—yellow
Top four oddest carpentry requests over the past few years:
- A fashion runway with blue lights
- A huge pink box (to store musical instruments)
- A photo booth with camera and lights
- An informational kiosk for the chestnut grove behind BAC
1 Comment on "Maintenance Metrics" »
December 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm Kyra Draft said: