Senate Facilities Management Committee
Academic Year 2020-2021
The Facilities Management Committee was busy this year, meeting eight times. Our ex-officio members--Interim Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Philemon Yebei (Fall 2020), Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Carolyn Kasdorf (Spring 2021), Director of Facilities Management Mike Prater--kept us up-to-date on numerous campus projects and financial issues this year. Among the campus projects: completion of the HVAC project in the Biology area, completion of the renovation of NS 125, completion of the electrical feed project for University Center and Administration, completion of the Northside restroom project, completed painting of Fine Arts building, completed upgrade of DW, EA, Parkside (Purdue Tech) building locks, assessment of campus grounds and planning for grounds improvements and campus branding, progress on the next phase of Northside Hall renovation in the South Wing, progress on the New Media renovation in Wiekamp, progress on the move of the CERES Lab into the old Helpdesk area in Wiekamp, completed repairs in Wiekamp (needed due to vandalism and flood damage). In addition, two $2 million proposals have been put together for two separate HVAC projects in the Northside Hall Tower. Also, a $1 million proposal has been put together for Campus Auditorium lighting and to fix the safety issue on stage reported by the Northside Hall Task Force in its first report.
Beyond this, we focused our attention on several items this year. We started by attending to “old” business. This was crucial because the pandemic and campus closure in Spring 2020 interrupted our great momentum in AY19-20. Further, there were key Administrative transitions (EVCAA, VCAF positions) underway in 2020. First, we tackled the issue of new student furniture in Northside Hall. In the previous academic year, the Northside Hall Task Force had proposed based on its initial report that new student furniture be purchased for eight “general inventory” Northside Hall classrooms. The Senate Facilities Management Committee recommended this proposal to Administration and it was approved by Administration. This proposal appeared to be in jeopardy in AY20-21, due to pandemic-related finances and to the rising cost of the selected student furniture. The Senate Facilities Management Committee worked with the Administration this academic year to ensure that the new student furniture definitely would be purchased for the eight general inventory Northside classrooms for Fall 2021.
Second, last year, with the pandemic converging on Indiana and based on complaints from the Northside Hall Task Force survey, the Senate Facilities Management Committee proposed campus-wide replacement of Cormatic towel dispensers. This was not feasible at the time. By Summer 2020, the Facilities Restart Committee (a different committee, but with some common membership: Prater, Scheessele) pushed for touchless restroom towel dispensers. Still not feasible. In Fall 2020, the Senate Facilities Management Committee raised this issue again. Bingo, third time’s the charm. Cormatic towel dispensers in campus bathrooms were replaced over winter break with new touch-free towel dispensers.
Third, the Senate Facilities Management Committee continued to push for a better facilities “workorders” system. To my knowledge, Yu Song originated this push by this committee back
in AY18-19. In 2019, the Northside Hall Task Force made Administrative communications on campus facilities issues, including the workorders system, a top priority. In AY20-21, the Campus Directions Committee (CDC) charged its “Goal 2 Strategic Planning Committee” with Facilities Communication as one of its strategies. (There was some common membership across these four groups: Senate FMC, NS Hall TaskForce, CDC, and Goal 2 Strategic Planning Group.) End result: The Goal 2 Strategic Planning Committee, led by Mike Prater, proposed to the CDC a 3-point plan for (1) communicating facilities/grounds status via a webpage similar to that used by UITS, (2) a webpage for communicating current and future major Facilities projects, and (3) an improved workorders process, which will include the ability to track the status of workorders, faster updating of workorders, and some (potential) “back-end” ability to analyze the types and locations of requests that come in. If the CDC/Administration accepts this proposal and if this proposal is implemented fully and properly, it should satisfy most of the prior concerns of both the Senate Facilities Management Committee and the Northside Hall Task Force.
Fourth, the Senate Facilities Management Committee continued to look into sustainability issues for the campus. We continued to inquire about the thermal blind for one face of the Library. Although, the money is still “there” in some sense, no money is currently committed to it. Because this is an issue of long standing (Former Chancellor Allison authorized the project several years ago) and because it bears on both student well-being and sustainability, the Committee approved a formal recommendation to the VCAF that this particular project (thermal blind for one face of the Library) be completed as soon as funding is identified and that completion of the rest of the project (thermal blinds for the other faces of the Library) happen as soon as is feasible. Mike Prater is working to ensure specs are up-to-date for when the funding is identified.
Another sustainability issue (raised last year) that we inquired into this year was the practice of leaving building lobby/hallway lights on when buildings are closed. We made initial inquiries and learned that Facilities has been energetically investigating sustainable lighting. When there is new construction, typically motion-sensitive lights are being installed. Replacing existing lighting with motion-sensitive lights requires funding. Simply turning lobby/hallway lights off can pose various safety/technical challenges in some cases. It may be possible, however, to turn off some hallway lights (e.g., third-floor Northside Tower hallway lights). Such possibilities could be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with an eye to turning off some or all lights in each case.
Fifth, the Northside Hall Task Force invited Kathryn Manteuffel of IU Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to a Zoom meeting to discuss Northside Hall air quality (and other issues) in November 2020. The Task Force also invited the Senate Facilities Management Committee and select Northside scientists to participate in this meeting. (This meeting had been scheduled for April 17th, but was postponed due to COVID-19.) Several members of the Senate Facilities Management Committee attended this Zoom meeting. Manteuffel informed everyone of a webform for reporting indoor air quality (IAQ) issues. Filling out this webform triggers a response from EHS, typically starting with our local EHS contact, Tiffany German-Hall. The Senate Facilities Management Committee twice (Fall and Spring) posted an announcement in
Daily Titan informing the campus community about using the IAQ webform for suspected air quality issues in campus buildings. (This practice should continue.)
Sixth, we formed a subcommittee (Cole, Jean, Scheessele) to better publicize campus building evacuation procedures for the disabled. This subcommittee was joined by Anne Drake (Disability Support Services), Loni Oehlwein (Housing), Tiffany German-Hall (Environmental Health and Safety/Emergency Management and Continuity). Aimee Cole suggested we form a group for the disabled campus community analogous to the “Campus Ally Network” (CAN) group for the LGBTQ campus community. She suggested the name “Evacuation Procedures for an Inclusive Campus” (EPIC). We discussed starting with a flyer, developed by Karrie Jean, which has a QR code to take a person to an EPIC website tailored to building evacuation procedures for the disabled. The EPIC website will link to the new Building Emergency Action Plans (BEAPs) currently being developed by IUB and subsequently to be refined by IUSB Building Safety Chairs. These BEAPs are supposed to be ready by Summer 2021. We plan to finalize our new EPIC website in Summer 2021 as well. In addition, we discussed other plans to disseminate building evacuation information for the disabled, starting in Fall 2021. Later plans for EPIC may include videos and training. We decided to split off from the Senate Facilities Management Committee to become the new campus group, EPIC. Aimee Cole and Karrie Jean will be the initial co-chairs of EPIC.
Seventh, we re-visited the long-standing campus issue of excessively hot temperatures in campus buildings after staff submitted a concern to this Committee about excessively hot temperatures (88o+ F) in some Northside and Administration Building offices in March 2021. We had robust discussions of this issue at our March/April meetings. This issue is not resolved and should be taken up by the AY21-22 Senate Facilities Management Committee. Here are some points we discussed:
-Consider a temperature/humidity index rather than temperature alone.
-Research what is in the range of acceptability with respect to this index. Human Resources would be a good place to start in our research.
-Declare a standard regarding what working conditions are acceptable/unacceptable for campus employees.
-Develop a similar declaration in regards to students and classroom/lab/performance/study spaces.
-Short-term strategy: Temporary re-location of workers to other campus locations, allowing workers to work from home, re-location of classes to other classrooms, use of fans. Report building climate issues to Facilities via workorders. Facilities can try to provide information about building climate issues where possible.
-A question was raised: What about those cases where there is no easy fix (e.g., some employees must work in a fixed location)?
-Long-term strategy #1: Concentrate on most challenging building areas. Permanently move units from those building areas to other campus building areas rather than (wait to) fix those areas.
-Long-term strategy #2: Have ongoing department/unit conversations about how best to accommodate all department/unit employees when working conditions become unacceptable. Deans are influencers; work with Deans to prod departments/units toward these conversations, as well as to be voices to higher-level campus Administrators.
-Assessment of current situation #1: (Recently) installed HVAC systems have made climate improvements in the limited building areas where installed.
-Assessment of current situation #2: Mike Prater provided the following estimates:
o To completely fix climate issues in Northside would require $4-5 million for major systems and controls. For the Administration Building, controls would cost an additional $500,000.
o So, a lot of money and prioritization would be involved. The campus has been working on Northside for 10 years and has just scratched the surface.
o As an example of how long it takes to fix the climate in one particular building area, and assuming adequate funding, it takes 12-18 months to effect meaningful climate change in that particular building area.
We also focused on the following “new” business this academic year. First, in the early Fall, as we followed up on the new student furniture for selected Northside general-inventory classrooms, Philemon asked how we (Committee) might prioritize all campus building classrooms for student furniture going forward. Matt Marmorino, in consultation with Hossein Hakimzadeh, proposed a long-term web-based system to collect student input on classroom problems, including student furniture issues. We saw a prototype of this system in the Spring semester. The system could be hosted on an existing server belonging to Prof. Hakimzadeh. This server has already been vetted by appropriate IU personnel. So, there would be no worries over server cost or security. As far as labor, Prof. Hakimzadeh noted that it is a database-driven system. This means the web-based system could fairly easily be configured/re-configured for problem categories/types. He would just need for the Committee to suggest needed classroom problem categories/types. In our final Senate Facilities Management Committee meeting, we did not come to a conclusion to implement and use this system. One concern expressed was that we already have a variety of systems for collecting problem information (e.g., workorders, UITS, IAQ (indoor air quality), etc.). Even though the new system could be configured to collect information on problem categories/types that don’t overlap much with those of existing systems, we would still be introducing one more system into the mix. The idea expressed is that we should have a more comprehensive system to report/track all issues.
[Mike Scheessele editorial: Although the aforementioned concern/suggestion is probably wise from a human-computer interaction (HCI) perspective, such a comprehensive system (or perhaps user interface) would likely not be immediately feasible. Several groups would need to get together to incorporate their systems (or the user interfaces of these systems) into a “master” system (or user interface). This likely would take quite awhile to produce a desirable result. In the meantime, faculty are increasingly being pulled into campus retention and enrollment efforts. Classroom environment/furniture issues no doubt are collectively a factor in the retention/enrollment problem. Professor Hakimzadeh’s system could be quickly deployed to start collecting information on classroom issues that factor into the retention/enrollment problem. I advise that the AY21-22 reconsider this issue and explore the potential of deploying/using Hakimzadeh’s system.]
There was a second option on the table this year for collecting classroom problem information from students. Tabitha Kingsbury suggested asking a question about classroom environment on all student course evaluations. This would require adding classroom number to each student course evaluation. Hakimzadeh checked with the people who manage the information associated with each course evaluation and verified that it is possible to add classroom number. Prof. Hakimzadeh believes, however, that it would be difficult to process the evaluations by classroom to get the information the Committee needs to prioritize classrooms for work (e.g., student furniture upgrades).
Second, the Senate Facilities Management Committee considered how it might provide/receive input to/from other campus committees that consider Facilities issues. Such committees include: CBAC, the Campus Directions Committee (CDC) with its strategic planning committees, and the upcoming campus space planning committee. One of our members, Tabitha Kingsbury, was already serving on CBAC. Mike Prater and Mike Scheessele were appointed to the CDC’s strategic planning committee dealing with Facilities issues. Finally, the Senate Facilities Management Committee unanimously approved a recommendation that at least one of its members be appointed to the upcoming space planning committee. This recommendation was forwarded to VCAF Kasdorf and to EVCAA Pearon.
Third, members of the Senate Facilities Management Committee participated in the vote to approve renaming the Purdue Tech building to the Parkside building.
Fourth, in order to ensure continuity of this Committee from year-to-year and from chair-to-chair, we’ll start using Taskstream. Our operating procedures, spreadsheet of projects, and final reports (such as this document) can be posted to Taskstream to ensure continuity.
Academic Year 20-21 Final Report submitted by:
Michael R. Scheessele
Chair, Senate Facilities Management Committee