A Day in the Life of a Maintenance Request - Writing Sample 2

            A dorm has an issue. There is water leaking from somewhere, the air conditioning isn’t working, the heat won’t turn off, the drain is clogged, there are bugs or spiders everywhere, someone’s refrigerator is not working, a light bulb is burnt out. The list goes on and on. Someone has to fix all of these problems. This is where the maintenance staff at North Greenville comes in. Most students never see the behind the scenes work that goes into maintaining and fixing any problems the dorms have. The maintenance requests are rather short lived before they are taken care of.
             A request is sent from a faculty or staff member, or a resident student lets his or her resident assistant know that they have a problem. Students are not supposed to send in a request on their own, although there are some students with emergencies that call the office. Not many people come to the office in person with a request. To put in a request, the maintenance department prefers to have the requester put it in through their online work order form rather than a phone call, unless it is an emergency after hours during the week, according to maintenance secretary, Kelly King.
            After a request is made, it works its way to the office manager. Each member of the maintenance staff is specialized in a specific craft. The office manager will assign each task to a technician who works specifically on what they are being asked to do. Work orders are not prioritized unless they are an emergency. If it is a basic problem, they just take care of them in chronological order. The emergencies are also assigned, but the technician with the job will be alerted on their radio as well so they can take care of it as soon as possible.
           According to King, after a task is given to a technician, each job is taken care of within the week, with exceptions. Eighty-five percent of their jobs are completed in a week, according to King, as she looked at her computer in the maintenance department. “Most of our staff does a really good job at getting it done in 24 hours,” says King. The more basic and common requests from dorms include the toilet being stopped up, having a light bulb that’s burned out, and air conditioning having problems. Sometimes there is a simple fix that a resident could have overlooked when trying to see what the problem is, and other times it’s more complicated and requires an air conditioning window unit or hot water heater to be replaced entirely. Other places around campus that have the most problems are the dining hall areas. The conveyer belt often has issues and the coolers sometimes need some work. The most common of all the requests, however, is the air conditioning systems are not working properly. They also have a lot of issues with lost keys and the doors not opening. King also stated that despite the fact that some dorms are significantly older than others, the need for maintenance is pretty even across the board.
           There have also been some pretty bizarre requests made to the maintenance department. Men’s housing coordinator, Dillon Key says, “One of my coordinators put in a request for a funeral for a mouse they found in a house.” While maintenance did come get rid of the mouse, they did not hold a funeral. Despite being weird and unusual requests, the maintenance department will still find a way to make sure the problem is taken care of. Billy Watson, Assistant Vice President of Student Life, says, “There were approximately five hundred lady bugs on [someone’s] ceiling and we had to go over there with a vacuum and get them all up.” He also mentioned that someone put in a normal request that their toilet was clogged up. When they went to fix it, they realized that a tennis ball had bounced into the toilet and someone had flushed it, causing the clog. That could have been a somewhat normal request and was an easy fix, but it was definitely something that could have been prevented.
            Improvements have been made by the school in an effort to make sending a request easier and more efficient. “The biggest thing we have done this year was helping with freshman move in. There were a lot of positive responses and it’s been one of our biggest improvements,” says King. Another improvement they have been working on is work cards. After the job is completed, they try to leave a card with contact information, a description of what was done, what the specific request was, and how to follow up if there is anything that needs to be done later. They are working to make sure that all of the problems on campus are taking care as quickly and as efficiently as possible.