Facilities Desk Notes, fall 2012

As summer winds to a close and campus construction starts to be displaced by students and faculty, it’s a good time to revive the Directors’ Desk Notes. We hope these notes provide information you find valuable, useful, and stimulate interest in what goes on behind the scenes as hundreds of support staff work to keep the campus functioning and attractive. If you have ideas for improvement or additional topics, please let us know!

John Furman, Director of Facilities Management
Rick Benner, Director of Facilities Development and Capital Budget


Many of you are probably aware of the fact that many Western Washington University positions are represented by a Labor Union. Western’s obligations to both employees and the Unions are defined by the currently negotiated Bargaining Unit Agreements, locally negotiated Memoranda of Agreement, and past managerial practice. One area of recurring Labor-Management challenges is the use of outside service providers instead of our in-house work force.

When University entities contract for work that has historically and customarily been performed by in-house employees, those entities place themselves at risk of a Union grievance with possible financial ramifications. If a grievance is upheld, your department could be held financially liable to the Union for the amount of money the Union would have received had the work been done in-house – in short, you could be required to pay twice.

I encourage you and your staff to refer to the Facilities Management web site http://www.wwu.edu/fm/index.shtml for more information on our services, and when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call our Work Control Center at (360) 650-3420 for personal assistance.

To help you avoid violations of our collective bargaining agreements, I will periodically provide you information on services and capabilities Facilities Management provides.

This edition’s topic:


Managed as a fee for services operation, our Paint Shop is much more than its title might indicate.

Signage: We operate a fully equipped Sign Shop offering services from design to production to installation/application. Lettering, decals, logos, ADA signage/Braille, vinyl, plastic, metal engraving, etc. for signs, directories, walls, doors, windows, tack boards, vehicles, etc. Nearly every sign or logo you see on campus can be or has been produced by our sign shop.

Painting: Our painters touch virtually every flat surface on campus. They perform general patching and painting campus-wide: general wall finishing and painting on in-house projects and preparation and application of clear finishes on cabinets, floors, rails and stairs.
Floor Work: We have a professional tile worker on staff who does tile work for showers and bathrooms. We also install and replace carpeting, floor tile and linoleum as part of service work requests and small projects.

Window Covering: The Maintenance Mechanics in the Paint Shop install window coverings across campus, including blinds, window tinting and UV treatments.


If you are not on campus during the Summer, you could easily never know the breadth and scope of work that gets accomplished between June and September.

Every year for example, Facilities Maintenance shuts down the entire steam system for a full week in order to repair and maintain parts of the system which we can’t normally touch. Nearly every building on campus receives heat and hot water through the steam system, which operates continuously at temperatures well over 212 degrees. This year, numerous valves were replaced or repacked, while our asbestos abatement team recorded 170 hours of insulation replacement in key areas of the Steam Plant. We also used the opportunity to install bypass valves in strategic locations which will allow us to isolate certain areas if the need arises.


Facilities Design & Capital Budget (FDCB) also had a very busy summer. It’s often hard for campus to know who worked on what projects, but at the end of the day, what matters is the needs of campus have been served! Points of contact for these and other FDCB projects can be found at their web link: http://www.wwu.edu/wwuarchitect/pages/fd/projectsindesign.shtml.

College Hall: College Hall saw a wide variety of work this summer, with both contractors and in-house staff working in, around, and on-top of the building. The entire roof was replaced, brick was repaired, some bathrooms were renovated, selected rooms and offices were carpeted and painted, and fire alarm sensors were replaced.

Energy Savings (ESCO) Project: As part of our ongoing energy savings initiative, we began replacing light & plumbing fixtures around campus. The contractor will also be modifying certain building controls to reduce the operating times of heating and ventilating systems which will result in substantial energy and cost savings.

Residence Hall Painting & Carpeting: Students living in Fairhaven and Ridgeway will see freshly painted rooms and new carpeting in hallways and common areas.

Brick Replacement: Existing brick pavers were removed and replaced on new crushed gravel and sand setting in multiple locations to mitigate the tripping hazards of uneven surfaces and sinking bricks. Areas included the west side of Red Square, the west entry plaza to Fine Arts, the west side of Bond Hall at the bike racks and the walkway adjacent to the large tree at Edens Hall. Old bollards by the Bond Hall bike racks have also been replaced.

Old Main Water Line Replacement: From the day after Spring Commencement until the middle of September, a contractor worked feverishly in the heart of campus to install roughly 1,600 feet of 8-inch and 12-inch water main to replace an aging 6-inch main. The scope includes replacement of fire hydrants and building service connections and water meters.

Environmental Services Roof Replacement: Late this spring, we discovered the ES roof could not wait until next biennium for replacement. FDCB partnered with the University of Washington to use an existing UW contract to replace the roof before our rainy season arrives. This work would normally have had to wait until next summer, but thanks to some creative contracting and quick thinking, we will have a safe and secure roof much earlier than expected.

Mathes Hall Renovation: A new fire protection system, including fire sprinklers and fire alarms, is being installed in Mathes Hall in two phases (this summer and next). The project will provide modifications to the fire service water system within the building in order to ensure acceptable water pressures and quantities to support the new fire sprinkler system. Also included are modifications and upgrades to existing structures and finishes.

Classroom Mediation: Twenty classrooms in six buildings (Arntzen Hall, Bond Hall, Environmental Studies, Humanities, Ross Engineering and Performing Arts) received media upgrades over the summer. Most work will be done prior to the start of fall quarter with the exception of Performing Arts 47, which is scheduled for completion in October, and Environmental Studies 123, ES 213, and ES 418, which are scheduled to be complete by early December 2012. Work includes hazardous materials abatement; new lecture podium systems with computer, video and projection equipment; projection screens; whiteboards; modifications to doors, walls, and ceilings; new flooring, ceilings and acoustical wall treatments; modifications to mechanical and electrical systems; and updated furnishings in some rooms.

Ridgeway Beta Renovation: A new fire sprinkler system was installed in Ridgeway Beta. The project also included upgrades to the fire alarm and detection system, replacement of the exterior windows, structural seismic and hazardous materials mitigation, replacement of lighting and flooring, and new paint.

Residential Wireless Implementation – Phase II: Wireless data access points were installed in all residence halls over the past two summers. The first phase was completed last summer and included Buchanan Towers, Birnam Wood, Edens North, Fairhaven (all stacks except the third floor of stack one), Higginson, Nash, Ridgeway Beta and the Viking Commons. Phase two took place this summer and covered Mathes, Edens Hall and the remainder of the Ridgeway Complex.


Western’s 2013-2023 Capital Plan and 2013-2015 Capital Budget Request was submitted to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in Olympia in early September. The entire budget request is available for viewing or downloading at: http://www.wwu.edu/wwuarchitect/pages/cb/documents/2013-23-Cap-Plan.pdf

This submission is the culmination of over a year of work on the parts of many people around campus. In the summer of 2011, the University and its Planning Unit Leaders began reviewing the previous ten-year capital plan. During the fall, the Vice Presidents presented initial thoughts to the University Planning and Resources Council (UPRC), which gathered comments from its members and held several open campus forums. Results of the open forums were shared with the Vice Presidents, leading to the submitted ten-year capital plan being approved by the Board of Trustees at their June 2012 meeting.


If there is someone who works in your area who might be interested in receiving these updates, please pass this edition on. If you are interested in receiving these notes personally rather than through Western Today, please email us (john.furman@wwu.edu) and we will place you on the distribution list.