Campus maintenance suffers from budget cuts

By Natalie Spivey

February 22, 2012

Budget cuts are affecting all aspects of Missouri Western, including the maintenance department. In the last several years, the maintenance staff has decreased by four custodial employees, a painting position and a mail clerk. [caption id="attachment_9446" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Trash can be found many places on campus, especially with cuts to campus maintenance. Photo by Jason Brown"][/caption] “Our staffing levels are bare bones right now,” Director of Facilities Lonnie Johnson said. Johnson said that the campus only has two custodians working for each of the academic buildings on campus. One electrician and one plumber are covering the whole campus. Auxiliary Maintenance Supervisor Steve Conway said he has not heard of anything changing in the future regarding the number of hours maintenance employees work or a decrease in the number of working employees. Johnson said that while the cost of materials continues to go up each year, the operating budget is not increasing fast enough to cover all the areas. Maintenance cannot keep from going over their budget in some areas. Conway said that he and several other employees cover all the dorms on campus, as well as the student union, commons and fitness center. There are 9 full-time workers and four student workers. They take care of anything that has to do with student involvement. Auxiliary maintenance has four maintenance techs that take care of maintenance requests such as heating, air and plumbing. Conway and and his team get a lot of door requests. Director of Residential Life Mark Stier said in case of an emergency he could call on the radio and maintenance would respond. Residential life consists of only the director, three hall directors and 40 resident assistants. Since residential life does not have its own maintenance personal, Stier relies on campus maintenance for assistance. The maintenance department is quite diverse and encompasses every section of campus. The staff is currently made up of seven different areas: mechanical maintenance, building trades, grounds, events/set-ups, custodial, auxiliary maintenance/custodial and mail room/shipping receiving. The custodial staff works Monday through Friday and also cleans up after college events such as sports and conferences.