Simpson custodial struggles

Campus Services building, headquarters for maintenance and custodial staff.

Cash Lee

Campus Services building, headquarters for maintenance and custodial staff.

by Cash Lee, Staff Reporter

The Great Resignation is one of the many lasting impressions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Simpson’s campus is struggling with the impact. The custodial and maintenance teams specifically are straining to get through the semester with fewer workers than usual. 

The director of Facility Management, Brian Schultes, talked about the struggles of this year. “By far the most difficult thing is the competitive labor market. We’re seven staff short, so we’ve had to subcontract out three positions that are responsible for cleaning the athletic center.” 

The shortage of employees has given the staff more responsibilities with less time to complete them. 

“Rather than being able to spend all the time we want in a particular facility, we’re only able to get the high impact areas and then go on to the next thing. So, things like spot cleaning carpets, high dusting and deep cleaning on a monthly basis, we don’t get to do those things,” Schultes said. 

Schultes graduated from Simpson and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) during his time as a student. He has held many different positions on campus and enjoys working for students even though it can be a lot to handle. 

An unrelated change that Simpson made this year was the decision not to supply toilet paper to apartments and houses on campus. Some students weren’t pleased with the decision, but it’s worth mentioning that this change is saving the college $24,000 per year on toilet paper. 

Derek Maxfield, the Residence Life apartment team lead, talked about the maintenance team’s relationship with community advisors this year. “It has been pretty good, for the most part, it’s the maintenance and janitorial staff that we have a relationship with. We mostly talk with maintenance and they relay it to the janitorial staff. The relationship is getting better, especially with Brian Schultes, the new director as of late last year.” 

Contrary to expectation, Maxfield said the rate at which things are getting done is better this year. “Maintenance-wise, things are getting done faster than last year, which is surprising because we have fewer people than we used to have,” he said.  

Another change from last year regarding maintenance is the work order process. There is a new system that was implemented last semester. “It’s very convenient for CA’s. There’s an app on our phone that we use and it makes it much easier. We can see who completed it, we can see pictures easily, and we can edit and address it as needed,” Maxfield said. 

This provides hope the relationship with maintenance will only get better throughout this year. 

Schultes added that he hopes students will understand the trash policies specific to their living quarters. These policies should be covered in the building meetings at the beginning of the semester, so students should be sure to pay attention to these rules and comply to help out staff on campus.