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Division of Facilities News

Recycling & K-State

by Kevin Schindlbeck, Director of Custodial, Landscape, & Recycling

Recycling at K-State was formally initiated in 1989. Recyclable materials were collected at 22 buildings on campus. At the time, the University collected newspaper, aluminum cans, computer paper and white bond paper using one pick-up truck to move the materials to a local recycling vendor.

In 1998, the KSU Recycling Advisory Committee was established. The University was loaned a baler from a local vendor and began to bale recyclable materials. This allowed for better space utilization and a more marketable end product.

By the year 2000, Students for Environmental Action proposed Game Day Recycling, which was started that same year. K-State purchased its first baler and extended recyclable materials to include plastics. The baler was replaced in 2011.

The recycling program added desk-side recycling and purchased a forklift in the 2001-2002 academic year. A side-load recycling truck was purchased in 2004.

On June 11, 2008, a tornado damaged numerous buildings at the University including the Wind Erosion Lab, which was owned by the USDA. It was given to KSU later that year. Using a grant, KSU was able to make the needed repairs to the Wind Erosion Lab, converting it to the Recycling Center on campus.

In 2009, K-State participated for the first time in RecycleMania. Over an 8-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week. The results are then ranked in various categories. K-State has been named the Big 12 RecycleMania Champion in 2014, 2015, and 2017.

Happy Retirement!

HAPPY RETIREMENT TO ARAMINTA WASHINGTON!

 

After working as a Custodial Specialist, Araminta was promoted to Custodial Crew Leader in October of 2007. In May of 2014, she was promoted to the position of Custodial Supervisor Senior at Vet Med until her retirement July 29th. We want to thank Araminta for her many years of service to K-State and wish her all the best!

Welcome Back!

Facilities is happy to welcome back our Associate V.P., Ryan Swanson, who has been recovering from a head-on collision with a vehicle while riding his bike on the morning of Monday, July 24th. Ryan was transported by EMS to Via Christi and then onto Stormont Vail in Topeka for surgery.

Several K-State employees within Facilities and across campus sent notes of encouragement and appreciation for all Ryan does for Facilities and K-State as a whole. We are glad to have him back!

Ryan Swanson poses with his “Appreciation Tree” covered in notes of appreciation and encouragement from several members of the K-State family.

Welcome to Our Team!

Martron Winstead was hired as a Custodial Specialist. He will be working for Beverly Price.


Mahogony Knox was hired as a Custodial Specialist. She will be working for Stephanie Brecheisen.


Marcus Gallon was hired as a Custodial Specialist. He will be working for Roger Schneider.


Daundra Brown was hired as a Custodial Specialist. She will be working for Roger Schneider.


Jim Tebbutt was hired as an Equipment Operator Senior for Refuse and Recycling. He will be working for Bill Spiegel.

How We Beat the Heat!

In case you were wondering…It’s hot outside.

Those of us lucky enough to grow up in our beloved Kansas climate are well educated in the ways of our harsh mid-summer temperatures. When forecasts warn of temperatures rising to a hundred degrees or more, many of us are grateful that our jobs are in an air-conditioned office. However, for many of our Facilities employees, functioning in triple digit temperatures is just part of the job as they work to keep our campus running smoothly. Here are a few things our dedicated colleagues do to beat the heat inside and out.

 

GROUNDS & LANDSCAPING

Many of us see a temperature reading of 100 degrees as a signal to save yard-work for another day. However, our Grounds & Landscaping team are not able to postpone much when there are over 2,300 acres of campus to care for. Jacki Toburen, who runs the day-to-day operations of our crew, works to ensure her team stays safe while getting the job done. Part of their crew arrives at 6 am to work on bigger projects in the cooler parts of the day but working in the hot sun is inevitable. Here are a few tips they use to make it through:

  • Wear sunscreen and re-apply every two hours
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Wear clothing with a tight weave
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Stay hydrated, drink lots of fluids
  • Take breaks in shaded areas
  • Wear a dampened scarf around your neck

 

New landscapers (novice or professional) who have not been ‘conditioned’ to be in the sun for long periods are the most at-risk group for heat exhaustion. So be cautious! The professionals on our team are acclimated to working in extreme-weather conditions. For those of us who do not work in the heat every day, it is best to start out working in the sun for shorter periods and gradually increase work sessions over time.


STEAM & CHILLED WATER PLANTS

While our landscaping crew is visibly facing the heat in our front yards, we have another group working behind the scenes who also face heat-related risks in order to keep the rest of us cool.

Employees from the Steam Plant and Chilled Water Plants face risk of heat exhaustion daily. Several employees have uniform requirements (such as long sleeve shirts and pants made out of specific materials) that make it more difficult to stay cool during the summer months. They are also often working in enclosed spaces, such as underground tunnels, to keep things on campus working as they should. Several labs on campus are “climate-sensitive”, meaning that temperatures must remain constant to ensure precision of experiments and research. Our Power Plant team works to ensure these places stay at the temperatures they need to be while keeping the rest of us cool and comfortable. Because so much of our campus depends on the steam and chilled water plants to be working smoothly, our power plant crew can’t put off a crisis for a cooler day. Tim Brunner, Plant Manager, understands the importance of keeping all the moving parts functioning while enforcing strict policies to keep his power plant employees safe.

“When we are running tunnels and the weather is hot outside I like my guys to do 20 minutes in and 20 minutes out.  I only allow tunnel work for 4 hours a day during the summer unless it is an emergency.  If that happens, we set up fans and man it in 20-minute shifts to get the problem taken care of. Heat is one of the worst safety issues we deal with because not everyone takes heat the same.  A lot of the time, you don’t know  you are overheated until it’s too late.”  -Tim Brunner, Plant Manager

Working in the heat is a necessary evil for several members of our Facilities family. It takes great commitment as well as caution to ensure Wildcat country has the physical conditions needed to move forward in our goals of providing excellent customer service and becoming a top 50 research university by the year 2025.

So, the next time you look out a window and see a member of our facilities team ‘emerge’ from a manhole or out in the scorching sun trimming a tree…take a deep breath of that cool air and make a note to tell them “thank-you” for everything they do!

Suggestion Box…

 

With more units now located in Dykstra, would it be possible to evaluate the women’s restroom conditions in consideration of more frequent use?”

 

After gathering feedback from staff, there are some opportunities for improvement of the women’s restroom.  The custodial crew has just re-finished the floor (and it looks great!) and work orders have been placed to repaint the walls and partitions, install updated fixtures, evaluate the exhaust system, and finish it all off with a deep clean. It should be looking good in the near future!

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