President Lindsay has announced the plan to put in place a construction services division.
This division will be geared toward expediting the construction process and saving the university significant resources, the president said.
Special Assistant to the President Ron Sutherland is overseeing the department currently. Gregg Holloway, the director of facility services, has agreed to be the director of this program.
“The facilities team is broken down into three departments and a support team,” Sutherland said. “Housekeeping, responsible for the daily cleaning, maintenance, responsible for systems, and grounds, responsible for landscaping.”
There are currently no projects being overseen by this division, but they hope to be up and running in the next 60 to 90 days, after finding a new hire to work alongside Holloway to assist in this division. After that, the division can be functional by January 2023.
“[January] is a normal time for us to begin talking about bidding for the summer,” Sutherland said. “There are a number of projects that we’re looking at that could fall into this group that we’re evaluating.”
Early on, the division will most likely focus on building relationships with subcontractors in the area, which are people contracted to do different construction tasks with various licenses.
Sutherland looks at this relationship-building process as a long term investment in order to improve the Taylor community.
“The same will be true with suppliers,” Sutherland said. “It’s another thing to build accounts and make connections with the firms that supply the operating materials.”
The second, and arguably the most important piece of the day-to-day operations of this division, is the management of projects.
There are meetings that take place in order to facilitate these conversations and help projects run more smoothly.
“You have to make sure that they get done in the right order and that there’s a schedule maintained,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland is optimistic about the future of this team and thinks it is a good time to start the next phase of this division.
Ultimately, the construction goals are beyond what the current construction division can handle, hence the new team.
“Now, because of the number of projects we’re able to look at, particularly in the next five years, it seems like a good time to give this department an effort,” Sutherland said.
Two years ago, Taylor borrowed enough money to evaluate the renovation of many major buildings across campus.
Now, the construction services division will work on evaluating those funds and how the University will decide to spend those funds.
“We’re prioritizing what that looks like and where we’ll spend those resources,” Sutherland said.
One project that is sure to excite students is the renovation of the dining commons, being evaluated to take place next summer. This division may oversee the painting of the ceiling inside, as well as redoing some of the food service lines and how they function.
“The electrical and plumbing needs some work in [the kitchen],” Sutherland said. “We’re also evaluating an elevator inside of the space and whether that would be possible.”
Another area that could receive updates would be the KSAC Field House, which has a potential for updated locker rooms.
The main message Sutherland wants to send to students is that the goal of the construction services division is to be good stewards of Taylor’s resources.
“We think there’s going to be more savings so that it comes back to really help the institution to be able to stretch their dollars further,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland wants students to know that there are serious conversations taking place about the facilities on our campus — enough so that the university is making investments. The bottom line is that this service group will be a small step to a large improvement to Taylor.