DePauw University’s facility management department has lost over 35 staff members since last year, taking the staff from 102 to 67.
The loss of staff is partially attributed to DePauw offering early retirement packages to faculty and staff at the end of last year. 200 staff and faculty members across campus were offered retirement packages. Although not everyone accepted, an overwhelming amount of staff from facilities took the offer.
Director of Facilities Management Warren Whitesell said that despite having the least amount of staff the department has ever had, facilities management has been working under the same workload.
“No one has asked us to do less,” Whitesell said.
Whitesell does not believe the department will have a staff of over 100 again and is aiming for numbers in the mid 90’s and hopes to reach his goal over the next four to six months. New positions are being created to focus on technical advances and building management systems.
“(The) system’s changing,” Whitesell said. Within facilities, housekeeping and landscaping lost the highest number of people and there is only one electrician currently on campus.
“They’re working through some challenges now,” said new Vice President of Finance and Administration Bob Leonard. Leonard cited flooding in the Green Center of Performing Arts over the summer and the multiple renovation projects taking place across campus as focuses of facilities.
The short staff is causing headaches for facilities management, DePauw faculty and students alike. “I have been trying to get the trees labeled on campus and everything was supposed to come together this summer,” said junior Environmental Fellow Kiara Goodwine, “but because of the shortage of employees I don't think it will happen any time soon.”
Whitesell asked the DePauw community to be patient, especially over move-in weekend, as facilities will not be responding as fast to problems as in the past.
“Give us enough time to be able to respond,” Whitesell said. If students experience problems with their housing units they are asked to please place work orders on DePauw E-services.