Wednesday, May 21, 2008

university maintenance

The maintenance guy I see most frequently in my building always calls me “doctor.” “Hey doctor, how’s it going?” I don’t generally hear him greeting anyone else so I don’t know if this is his standard moniker for everyone at the University or if I’m special. It cracks me up either way.

Maintenance work here is all centralized, resulting sometimes in surprising efficiency (large teams of men with tools appeared last month to remove all of the winter air conditioner covers at once; the breathless coordination via walkie-talkie lent the operation a SWAT-teamish air) and sometimes in shocking inefficiency (it took over a month to move a desk once because they weren’t allowed to do it or lend us a dolly so we could do it until a work order went through official channels). The staff at Alfred had a bit more flexibility. A man named LeRoy (pronounced Le Roy, not Leeroy) was detailed to the house I lived in my last two years there. The University had just purchased it so it needed a few tweaks to adapt it to student housing, which made LeRoy’s work a bit more interesting than otherwise- I suspect he enjoyed getting to spend his days designing and building customized shelving rather than oiling door hinges. Maybe that’s why he was so accommodating when we asked him to help with random tasks like tweaking our composter so it could be turned more easily or adjusting our faucets so they closed more tightly. Or maybe his years of experience with students made him realize that if we were left to our own devices, we were likely to REALLY screw things up. An ounce of prevention and all that.


poz said...

Can you imagine: the fraternity house and grounds are maintained by the brothers that live in it. It's a wonder the building continues to stand year to year. At the same time, I now know how to sheetrock a wall.

Bigger things, like roofing and paving, are contracted out. But walls, paint, flooring, spackle, simple plumbing, and so on were all done in-house.

Sarah said...

That was how Dan's house did it too. And it showed. :)