Capital University has had some budgetary issues over the years, especially with the pandemic, so how is the Office of Facilities Management doing right now?
When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, it looked like some departments around campus would not be in great shape budget wise.
Of these departments, one specifically was Facilities Management, the office on campus which handles residential and academic work orders, groundskeeping, housekeeping and key requests.
Rumors had been circulating that Facilities had been on the fence and was forced to pull some strings over the course of the pandemic. However, it seems as if currently well in the Facilities department.
William Mea, the Vice President for Business and Finance said, “[the budget is] about $6.2 million for facilities, and that includes utilities, repairs, and maintenance. It also includes things like telecommunications such as Spectrum and WiFi that we need on certain parts of campus.” And of that $6.2 million, utilities is $2.6 million in of itself.
With all those expenses, generally speaking, the budget is large enough that facilities can do everything that is necessary for them to work. The question now being, should facilities have more money than what they are currently receiving?
It depends on how one looks at the issue. Facilities has the funds needed to keep Capital up and running. However, could they use more money? Sure, so could almost every other department at Capital.
It is important to point out that the $6.2 million budget does not include salaries and benefits for employees in the Facilities department.
One of the ways Facilities has been making the best use of its budget is through a system called “renewal and replacement.”
The whole idea here is to constantly be putting money into the state of the campus to make certain areas a little bit better by either improving what is already there or fixing what is broken.
For example, when a boiler inevitably goes bad in one of the dormitories on campus, the money needed to fix that would come from the renewal and replacement part of the budget. Or, when a lounge area gets renovated, such as the ones in Lohman, that would also come from the same section of the budget.
Fundraising is also something that Facilities does in an effort to complete extra, big ticket projects. Mea said, “fixing up the tennis courts…it’s actually not cheap, that’s a couple hundred thousand dollars…and while that is something that we would want to do, that is something that we would try to fundraise for.”
In terms of staffing, there were reportedly no jobs terminated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when Facilities was planning their budget for 2021, during the summer of 2020, there were two open positions. Those were frozen and eliminated so there would not be two more salaries to be paid.
Additionally, there was a program called a “Voluntary Separation Plan” or VSP. This was offered to people in several departments at Capital, not just Facilities. The whole idea behind this is that an employee is offered a deal where they can choose to leave the company to go somewhere else.
The company they voluntarily left, Capital in this case, then pays their salary and benefits for a given number of months and by then the former employee hopefully has another job. The company would offer this because they save several months worth of that employee’s salary.
In the case of the Facilities department here at Capital, there were two employees who took the VSP that was offered to them.