Projects Improve ASU’s Campus While Students Are Away!
- By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.
While the Hornet Nation and the rest of the country are sheltered-at-home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are taking the opportunity of working on their “honey-do” home improvement lists. Alabama State University is no exception.
The University is undergoing important maintenance and beautification projects that cannot be neglected.
“My division is made up of ‘essential employees’ who are handling the critical maintenance and campus improvement projects that cannot be neglected, even during this pandemic,” said Donald Dotson, ASU’s vice president for Facilities and Operations. “The University is taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure that our workers are safe, including rotating schedules and emphasizing the need for social distancing, as well as purchasing and providing masks and gloves, and stressing the need for hand washing as often as possible.”
Dotson said the work of his division keeps the campus ready for a return to “normalcy.”
"We are preparing ASU's campus for the return of our students," Dotson said. “Even though the University's physical facility is absent of students, faculty and most of its staff, work is proceeding by our Facilities and Maintenance employees so it's a better campus for our students, ASU family and visitors when they return."
CURRENT PROJECTS UNDERWAY AT ASU
Dotson said that before lifting one tool, the University needed to undergo a complete cleaning.
"First and foremost, we have conducted a hard cleaning, sanitizing and antibacterial fogging to cleanse and reduce microbial and bacterial growth. We are focused not only on our student’s residence halls, we also are working on the academic and administration buildings, as well as the auxiliary buildings such as the stadium and the student center," Dotson said. "Our student's safety is our greatest concern in our Facilities and Maintenance department and the work of our employees to accomplish this has been exemplary."
Dotson then ran through a list of some of the larger tasks that he is preparing for the eventual return of ASU's students, which include:
· Tennis Courts currently receiving a total resurfacing that includes digging up the old surface and placing down a new one;
· Track and Field complex is scheduled to be resurfaced with the specifications and bid process to soon be underway;
· C.J. Dunn Tower's elevators are being totally overhauled to operate as new. One is now 'like new' and the other will be ready soon;
· Dunn-Oliver Acadome's elevator has its bid being finalized now with construction starting afterward;
· Asphalt resurfacing for roads and parking lots on campus including Acadome, Bibb Graves Hall, South University, Ross-Dunn Drive, etc;
· Exterior campus lighting upgrades and enhancements to make the campus lit well, which enhances safety and beauty;
· Landscaping improvements across the entire University;
· Re-roofing and roof leak projects for Tullibody Hall, Bibb Graves Hall, the Campus Book Store, Facility One, G.W. Trenholm Hall and more.
Dotson said that on some of these projects, ASU is receiving much welcomed in-kind assistance from such partners as the Alabama Department of Transportation and the City of Montgomery.
ASU IS HUSBANDING ITS FUNDS WISELY
ASU’s vice president for Business and Finance, William Hopper, said that the University is funding the projects through a variety of sources that include combining smaller ASU construction fund accounts and reallocating them to current campus needs; reclassifying and repurposing Public Service Authority Funds; utilizing Alabama Commission on Higher Education monies that originated from Governor Kay Ivey's office, as well as other sources.
"Our ultimate goal is to create a safer, more pleasant and inviting learning and living environment for our students, employees and visitors," Hopper said.
ALL PART OF A NATIONAL STANDARD
Hopper said that the industry standard for public maintenance and facility projects across the nation is the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA), which purports that a well-maintained and groomed campus has a far-reaching impact beyond the aesthetic appeal of its landscaping.
"The APPA did a study that proved the first-impression made on visiting prospective students and parents on the look of a campus is most important in getting them to commit to attending school at a college or University," Hopper said. "In the big picture, if the grounds of a campus look good, with its flowers, grass and shrubbery manicured and in good order and with its buildings, classrooms and residence halls being clean, and properly maintained, that is many times the overriding factor that gets a student to attend school at such a place."
"President Ross understands this to be true and has charged us to do our best with what we have to make sure our campus is the best that it can be in preparation for the return of our students," Hopper concluded.