Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

Facilities Management clashes with rain

You arrive home, exhausted, after a long week of work. Friday night marks the beginning of a restful weekend, and you look forward to a full night’s rest. It’s nice to have down time after myriad meetings and countless phone calls. Rain, however, pours throughout the night, and you get little sleep. Because it’s Saturday morning, you’re able to catch up on a little sleep before starting the day.

If you work for Facilities Management (FM), chances are you haven’t experienced this leisure. Rain means overtime—not just for storms and near-hurricanes, but for any rain that accumulates an inch or over. No matter what day it rains—whether in the middle of the term, on the Fourth of July, or on the first Sunday of spring break—all 40 manholes and 56 outfalls (water outlets) scattered throughout Towson’s 328 acre campus need to be checked and cleared to ensure the rain inflicts minimal damage. But what happens during flash flood warnings? Rain relentlessly battering TU’s campus for hours—or days—can’t be good. In fact, it can be dangerous. One inch of light rain is a hassle, but several inches of intense downpour can be deadly.

In July, rain poured so hard that the walkway connecting Towson Center and the Unitas Stadium parking lot was undermined. Exposed electrical wires flared from all sides of the once sturdy path, and the bottom of the Unitas Stadium culvert—one of only two on campus—broke. Repairing these damages became so onerous and involved that the restoration process was labeled “The Big Dig.”

Construction was still underway at the end of August

But intense manual labor was only one problem the rain caused—having enough people to complete it was another. Most workers balanced the jobs of two people during the restoration process as a result. Though the project stretched FM thin, the tightly staffed department still managed to excel.

“They’re all heroes in my book.” Facilities Management AVP Kevin Petersen said. “What they’ve done is incredible. When one person steps in for an emergency, another one covers.”

The storm’s effects were so severe that Facilities Management was stretched thin for over a month; workers still trudged away as school began in late August. “The Big Dig” is being completed with care and expertise, though, and the walkway will soon be up and running for everyone—TU sports fans, students, faculty, staff—to use again.

Written by Tyler New

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