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Western Illinois University renames physical plant to better reflect true duties

Western Illinois University renames physical plant to better reflect true duties
Western Illinois University renames physical plant to better reflect true duties

Western Illinois University’s Physical Plant was recently renamed the the school’s Facilities Management, which university officials say is a better depiction of what goes on at the plant, and paints it in the proper light.

The campus maintenance change was spearheaded by Facilities Management Director Scott Coker, who said that the change, which went into effect on January 1, would improve several functions.

“It’s about improving the learning environment for our students, communicating better with our campus communities and improving customer service,” he said. “Most individuals outside our immediate department often confused the Physical Plant with the Heating Plant, and didn’t understand what we do on a daily basis.”

Coker added he and his team manage and keep up with assets and facilities from the main Macomb campus, the two campuses in the Quad Cities area, Horn Lodge, Kibbe Station and University farms.

“Therefore, the name change to Facilities Management just makes more sense,” he said.

The new Facilities Maintenance program will maintain more than 200 acres of lawns that need to be manicured regularly, seven acres of flower beds and thousands of trees. With about 17 miles of sidewalk going through the campus and its 74 acres of paved areas, Facilities Management is also tasked with ensuring these are always in tact.

The university has 64 buildings that must be maintained, as well as 5,000 motors, 650 water fountains, 20,000 feet of steam pipes and more than 5,000 thermostats that arefound throughout campus.

“Our building service workers clean and maintain more than 4.5 million square feet of space, which is equivalent to approximately 1,800 average sized homes. To help keep track of this work, there are more than 30,000 work orders processed each year in FM. All of this work is accomplished with about 350 employees,” Coker said.

Western Illinois University also recently announced it has committed to properly recycling the various batteries found throughout campus. Not only does this expand the school’s green initiative, it could also lead to lower costs by complying with Illinois state law.

The federal government’s EPA maintenance compliance measures can help companies prepare for inspections that can result in heavy asset downtime.

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