Maintenance could improve under new plan

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

A staff shakeup earlier this year could mean that Newman students will start seeing improvements to maintenance around campus and in the dorms, which has become a point of frustration for many.

Former Director of Facilities Paco Gonzales departed his position at the end of August, and Icer Vaughan, Newman’s longtime chief information officer, now also will serve as the school’s operations manager. He’s working alongside Jessica Haffner, the new operations coordinator, and says he hopes to make several improvements, especially when it comes to maintenance.

Haffner will now handle all incoming maintenance request tickets and also will coordinate necessary vendors and contracts. Vaughan, who has already reconfigured the ticketing system to provide better service, will oversee all maintenance and groundskeeping.

Vaughan said that he and Haffner will divide the work between them in hopes of improving service and offering better communication with everyone on campus.

Vaughan said he was “just trying to improve the culture of service…to try and keep everyone on the same page, so to speak,” Vaughan said.

Residents in the dorms have had a long list of complaints of late, ranging from days without functioning air conditioning or overflowing toilets that remained unattended for months.

“We need to be much better at responding to those situations,” Vaughan said.

The new ticketing system, he said, will better differentiate which requests are for dorm rooms vs. other buildings on campus. He said that with he and Haffner both triaging the tickets, jobs will be more efficiently prioritized and residents will see shortened wait times. Vaughan also said that there will be more direct communication with the dorm residents on the timelines for their requests and what they can expect.

“With Jessica and I both seeing all the tickets and not really the workers, we think that this will allow us to keep our maintenance staff working on tickets rather than burying them in paperwork,” Vaughan said.

Vaughn also said he embraces the theory that better organization and preventative maintenance will improve life in the dorms and on the rest of campus. Vaughan said that he plans to have maintenance go through all the dorms in January before students return from winter break to ensure that heat, toilets and other necessities are working properly. If they aren’t, he’ll still have time to make repairs without disrupting students.

“It’s easier for us if we catch this stuff before move in,” Vaughan said. “An air conditioner can break at any time, but we need to make sure it’s not broken before they even move in.”

Vaughan said he encourages all students and staff to notify him or Haffner if they see something in need of maintenance around campus. Dorm residents should still contact their Resident Assistants first to request maintenance, but he said students can contact him or Haffner if they need help with bigger issues.

“Let us know where we’re not living up to expectations so we can improve and do better,” Vaughan said.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash