November 28, 2016
Facilities Management
Bill Paulus


Preparing the U for Winter

Dear FM,

Despite the 50 degree temperatures and downpour of rain we had today, we know winter will be here soon. We have our own routines at home to prepare for the winter season -- digging out winter clothes, finding and preparing winter equipment, and making sure our homes are ready for the Minnesota cold. Similarly, FM must make the campus ready for winter in a seamless way for our customers. Here are a few examples:

District Maintenance staff lead the transition of our building systems from cooling to heating. Over 1000 hours are spent winterizing about 1300 AC units, coils, and pumps, and over 600 hours are spent shutting down cooling towers and chillers. Valves are opened to allow steam to flow smoothly to buildings, and about 60 boilers and space heaters are turned on for maximum comfort and productivity. In preparation for snowfall, our maintenance workers ensure that sidewalk salt, functioning shovels and about 60 snowblowers are stocked appropriately for the varieties of Minnesota snow storms. All in all, maintenance staff spend well over 2000 hours preparing the campus for winter.

Due to the rapid change in seasons, Landcare converts dozens of pieces of equipment from summer to winter mode in a matter of weeks including riding mowers and utility carts. They also inspect and prepare over 100 pieces of winter equipment including brooms, plows, sprayers, and sanders while simultaneously winterizing their summer equipment like golf carts and leaf vacuums. They also update snow maps and routes annually to include new buildings and sidewalks and train all new employees on equipment, routes, and procedures. Landcare also prepares to apply liquid chemical brines to pavement before storms hit to prevent ice from bonding to the pavement. Anti-icing processes not only reduce the amount of time and effort involved in snow and ice removal, but also minimizes the negative impacts classic salt treatments have on the environment, including vegetation, wildlife, water quality, and infrastructure. In fact, we have measured an annual average reduction in salt usage of up to 40% since beginning this program a few years ago.

Our Waste Recovery Services recycling team ensures that all 32 trash and cardboard compactors on campus have the correct amount of hydraulic fluid, and that the oil is cold weather grade to keep waste collection running smoothly and sustainably. Custodial workers get refresher sessions on the safe usage of shovels and proper distribution of ice melts, including the hazards of improper usage.

A final reminder: the leading injury for all FM employees is slips, trips and falls. Please pay attention to walking surface conditions this winter and take action to eliminate any hazards so we all can enjoy a safe campus.

One Liners
  • Boynton Health Services is offering a special flu clinic just for FM 2nd/3rd shift employees Monday, Dec. 5, 8 - 10 p.m., Room 202 of the St. Paul Student Center.
  • Open Enrollment ends Nov. 30. Benefits advice and help with making changes will be offered Nov. 28, 29, 30 in Donhowe 315, 8 a.m. - 4:30.

Have a great week.


Bill Paulus the interim AVP for FM
Bill Paulus is the interim Associate Vice President for Facilities Management. He regularly publishes memos to communicate information and issues that affect FM staff.