Photo by Brenda Lin

Beginning this semester, Tech Housing will conduct monthly cleanings of bathrooms and kitchens in suite and apartment style student residences on campus. Originally, these living spaces were only cleaned during the summer, but due to financial reasons and tough working demands, cleanings will be held every month for every suite and apartment on campus.

“The key thing that we are doing is providing them with a healthy living and learning environment,” said Assistant Director of Custodial Maintenance, Wanda Williams. “We’re going in on a regular basis, sanitizing, disinfecting and cleaning the bathrooms for them. That’s one last thing most have to think about other than getting their education, and in turn, germs start to build up and spread. I think that we’re helping to minimize that by providing them with a routine service.”

Housing typically incurs higher maintenance costs and experiences more issues when areas are checked only during the summer. Ernie Olivares, Senior Director for Facilities Management, believes that monthly checks and cleanups will help to eliminate these problems, providing a better working experience for the custodial employees and cutting the roughly $400,000 spent on cleaning by about half.

“We don’t want to have the craziness of summer. If we stretch the work load more often, the employee can recover and do similar things the next day,” said Ernie Olivares, Senior Director of Facilities Management. “We want to have health and safety for the students, but there should be health and safety for my employees first so that we can accomplish the task. In addition, we are cutting the costs by half by working more often.”

Olivares wants students to be aware when custodial services come to handle and clean their bathroom and kitchen spaces. He has advised residents to help custodial employees by moving unnecessary material out of the way.

“To support us, students need to believe that we are coming, and that they need to help move some of their items out of the way,” Olivares said. “A lot of people will leave their pots and pans on the stove, and even in the bathrooms, people leave their toothbrushes, soap and shampoo bottles, and we have to move them to clean and then put it back. The more students who move their stuff, the better service they are going to get.”

According to Olivares, the new cleaning system will call for custodial staff to perform more work on additional spaces, especially with Tech’s large quantity of living spaces, but the maintenance and cleanings will be performed on schedule regardless.

“Every bathroom and every kitchen in the suite and apartment style buildings will be cleaned, but the only exception is the family living because it is meant for family living,” Olivares said. “They have children and their own responsibilities, so we try to provide them with different service. Now, we’re just coming in more to private spaces which includes over fifteen hundred plus apartments monthly.”

Williams believes that students will appreciate the maintenance that will be done in their living spaces. She wants students to expect  the cleanings so that they can benefit  from the service.

“I want them to know and feel confident that we are coming,” Williams said. “Our goal is that we provide them with that added service which will hopefully be an added value to them as well.”