Feature

A day in the life of Facilities: Workforce of almost 80 takes care of all eight campuses across eastern Iowa

The Facilities department has more than 75 employees and an operational budget of $11 million a year leading it to be one of the biggest spenders on the Kirkwood Community College campus. They are also in charge of all eight Kirkwood campuses and 14 locations.

From custodial work to lawn care to construction management, the Facilities department is one of the largest on campus where they take care of 1.9 million square feet in building space and more than 600 acres.

Starting early in the morning around 7 a.m. the Facilities crews descend upon the campus to prepare it for the hoard of students that will soon enter the doors of the dozens of buildings across campus.

Using a work order system the grounds and maintenance crews keep track of the items on their agenda and meet with their supervisors to see what’s on the top of the list that day. The Facilities department receives around 10,000 work orders a year including all campuses and locations. “The work orders range from a light bulb went out, to the grass is too high, to equipment breakdowns,” Vice President of Facilities Troy McQuillen said.

The unique part about Kirkwood’s Facilities department is the amount of specialized equipment they work with. From the tractors and other equipment for the horticulture department to stoves and refrigerators for the college’s culinary arts program they have to have quite a range of skills and proficiencies to learn.

To manage all this they sometimes use consulting firms to help figure out solutions for the complex problems they may face when maintaining the complex programs on campus. “We also do a lot of work with a lot of specialized programs, we help with the hotel, the athletic fields, equestrian center, swine and vet tech programs so not only do we have to know a lot about the building systems but the program systems,” said McQuillen.

The facilities program is also in charge of operating the campus’s utilities, which the campus owns, requiring routine maintenance. The college also spends around $2 million a year on utilities across all eight campuses. “We take care of the campuses’ utilities like water, electric and natural gas so we are responsible for them and their maintenance,” McQuillen said. “Like if you are on the city’s water every once in a while they will come by and flush out your fire hydrants. We are responsible for that on the campus as well as over seven miles of road.”

Not only is the Facilities department in charge of maintenance of the buildings and grounds, they also supervise the construction projects that Kirkwood is currently pursuing. This includes $40 million in construction on the Student Center and Animal Care program addition.

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