Volume 12, Number 18 May 13, 2005

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Facilities Management belt-tightening means less upkeep of grounds & offices

The three-year phase-in of a total $1.2-million reduction in the Facilities Management Division budget will mean cuts this year to office janitorial service and the upkeep of some U of S grounds.

FMD Associate Vice-President Paul Becker announced this month that the need to reduce the division’s budget by $400,000 per year for three years means that in 2005-06 – the second year of the reductions – cleaning of staff and faculty offices and maintenance of grounds in outlying areas of campus will both take a hit.

Becker says FMD and the Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning (PCIP) decided the most effective cuts with the least relative harm to health and safety or the University’s academic mission would be to these two services.

From now on, offices across campus will be cleaned once per week instead of the current twice. This service includes sweeping and washing floors, emptying garbage cans and dusting desktops. If once-a-week custodial service is insufficient, staff are asked to empty their own garbage cans into larger corridor cans.

Daily cleaning will continue for general office areas, washrooms, cafeterias, hallways, entrances, stairwells, elevators, classrooms, labs, lunchrooms and lounges.

As well, outlying areas of campus will have reduced services, such as mowing and weeding. But central parts of campus will be kept up, including planting of flowerbeds and other grounds maintenance.

FMD Operations & Maintenance Director Howard Wall says other universities and major institutions face similar budget challenges and have taken similar steps.

“We fully assessed our needs and had to make some practical decisions,” Wall says.

A number of options for service reductions were considered, including cuts to custodial service for classrooms, labs and public spaces in campus buildings, and cutting back on groundskeeping in the central campus.

But Wall says the reduction in office cleaning and outlying grounds upkeep provides the most cost-savings and the least harm.

“We sought, first, to maintain health and safety, the necessary core functions, and putting the University’s best face on for the public,” he says.

“Will the appearance of campus be affected? I’m sure it will be. We will do our best to keep things up, but unfortunately there will likely be some noticeable reductions (in appearance).”

Wall says since another $400,000 needs to be cut from FMD’s budget next year, the division and PCIP may have to look at further reductions in service next year.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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