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A Miami Moment with ... facilities and grounds crew

Photo of Bobcat clearing snow from campus

Dan Garber, horticulturalist and back-up snow removal staff, operates a compact tractor with snow-removal equipment near Harrison Hall.

January 2014 brought Miami its first academic winter term and the opening of the Armstrong Student Center. It also brought physical facilities staff its coldest, snowiest month in many years.

All the cold and snow meant extra effort to keep pathways and pipes in safe working condition.  Miami's Oxford campus has 35 miles of sidewalks, nine miles of main roads and about 70 acres of parking lots. A grounds staff of 38 employees is responsible for the majority of this area. They try to stay ahead of and keep up with snowfalls and below-zero temperatures.  It is a strain on people and equipment.

"This year the polar vortex weather patterns have been a challenge for our staff as well as their equipment," said Greg Vaughn, director of building and grounds.  "The sub-zero temperatures have kept PFD’s four mechanics and one welder busy making sure equipment was up-and-running and available when needed. The staff has braved the temperatures, snow and ice while maintaining positive, can-do attitudes."

Jesse Horn repairs radiator

Technicians responded to 500 heat-related calls in Dec.-Jan. Senior master repair technician Jesse Horn repairs a radiator in Dorsey Hall. First, he shuts off the building's steam and tags the boiler. Eight minutes later, with a radiator part replaced, the steam is turned back on.

In supporting roles are the Oxford campus' 130 custodians who clear the academic and administrative building entrances out to about 15 feet from each building. The custodial staff also has an “emergency snow crew” of 20 people who report to duty outside normal hours to keep building entrances clear and help the grounds staff during severe winter weather.

Temperatures were a challenge within buildings as well. Miami maintained higher indoor temperatures to reduce the number of freezing pipes in buildings but, with sustained below-zero temperatures outside, the cold was hard to beat.

"Building maintenance has responded to and corrected over 500 work orders that were heating-related since the beginning of December," said Jeremy Davis, director of building maintenance. "We worked many long hours – all night in some cases – and staffed heavily over the weekend the students returned to campus so that we could resolve issues as soon as they were identified. This has been a very intense collaborative effort between PFD and HDRBS (housing, dining, recreation and business services) to ensure our customers receive a quality service.”

"A quick response time coupled with proactive maintenance and continual monitoring of systems prevented damage and failures."

Grounds crews on Miami's regional campuses – two people at Middletown and three at Hamilton – also put in extra effort. Middletown's campus, a former park, is picturesque but hilly, meaning the crew there plows and shovels on slopes, said Chuck Mack, senior director of campus operations at Miami Middletown.

“The crew has spent several nights already catching a few minutes of rest and sleep between plowing and salting runs. The members of the campus community have been appreciative," he said.

"Truly all of our staff and faculty have shown their mettle and their Miami spirit for enduring the cold temperatures and snow to be here for the benefit of our students," said David Creamer, vice president for finance and business services.  "My thanks to everyone for their dedication to providing a consistently positive Miami experience during the inclement weather.

written by Claire Wagner, university news and communications, wagnercm@MiamiOh.edu

University Communications and Marketing

University News and Communications
Glos Center
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
513-529-7592
513-529-1950 (fax)

newsinfo@miamioh.edu
Locations
Luxembourg
West Chester
Middletown
Hamilton
Oxford
  • Luxembourg
    Luxembourg

    John E. Dolibois European Center, Luxembourg

    One of Miami's oldest continuous study abroad programs, the Miami University John E. Dolibois Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg offers students the opportunity to enroll in Miami classes taught by European-based and Ohio-based Miami faculty. Students enjoy a unique combination of first-class academics, engagement in the local community, and various faculty-guided and independent travel opportunities.

    Contact and emergency information for the Luxembourg Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    Château de Differdange
    1, Impasse du Château
    L-4524 Differdange
    Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    luxembourg@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/luxembourg

    217-222 MacMillan Hall
    531 E. Spring Street
    Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA

    Directions

    Main Operator: 011-352-582222-1
    Oxford-based Coordinator: 513-529-5050
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • West Chester
    West Chester

    Voice of America Learning Center

    Located midway between Cincinnati and Dayton along I-75, the Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) offers undergraduate and graduate courses and programs drawn from Miami's Regional and Oxford campuses. Home to Miami's MBA program, the Learning Center provides ready access to graduate programs for area educators and courses leading to the BIS degree for undergraduates.

    Contact and emergency information for the Voice of America Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    7847 VOA Park Dr.
    (Corner of VOA Park Dr. and Cox Rd.)
    West Chester, OH 45069
     
    voalc@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/voalc

    Printable Floor Plan
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-895-8862
    (From Middletown) 513-217-8862
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Middletown
    Middletown

    Middletown Regional Campus

    Nestled on 141 acres near I-75, Miami University Middletown offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Nearby Greentree Health Science Academy immerses Miami's nursing and health information technology students in the health care experience while taking classes.

    Contact and emergency information for the Middletown Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

     4200 N. University Blvd.
    Middletown, OH 45042
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-727-3200
    (Toll-free) 1-86-MIAMI-MID
    Office of Admission: 513-727-3216
    Campus Status Line: 513-727-3477
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Hamilton
    Hamilton

    Hamilton Regional Campus

    A compact, friendly, commuter campus, Miami Hamilton offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Small class sizes, on-site child care, and flexible scheduling make Miami Hamilton attractive to students at all stages of life and career.

    Contact and emergency information for the Hamilton Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    1601 University Blvd.
    Hamilton, OH 45011
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-785-3000
    Office of Admission: 513-785-3111
    Campus Status Line: 513-785-3077
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Oxford
    Oxford

    Miami University, Oxford Ohio

    Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. With a student body of 16,000, Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with faculty who love to teach and the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.

    Contact and emergency information for the Oxford Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    501 E. High St.
    Oxford, OH 45056

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-529-1809
    Office of Admission: 513-529-2531
    Vine Hotline: 513-529-6400
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency