Christian Sarna

Sep 17, 2020

2 min read

Keeping it clean and cool during COVID.

Missouri Western physical plant director Bryan Adkins discusses maintenance issues and the role of the physical plant on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One week into semester might seem a bit early for the usual onset of tensions between roommates, but some Missouri Western students experienced a different kind of frustration while settling into on-campus housing in late August: an unseasonably hot weekend with no air conditioning and no explanations.

On August 22, some students in Scanlon and Vartabedian hall awoke to find that their air conditioning units were putting out hot air. Residential life did not communicate with students about the issue until over 48 hours after the issue was first reported.

Bryan Adkins is the director of the physical plant, the department in charge of maintenance on Missouri Western campus. Adkins said that while residential life reached out shortly after the problem was first reported, a technical issue delayed that message from being seen by maintenance until Sunday morning, at which point the specific part needed to fix the problem could not be acquired until Monday anyways. The source of the problem? A burnt out compressor, most likely pushed over the edge by the heat in its outdoor location.

Residential life sent an email to students Monday afternoon stating that the issue was being addressed. The residence halls cooled back down later that evening.

Photo by Anton on Unsplash

Air conditioning issues aren’t the physical plant’s only focus this semester, however. Health and safety considerations during the global pandemic are a main consideration for the physical plant. Adkins encouraged members of campus community to reach out to the physical plant with any of their concerns or needs, including needing cleaning supplies.

According to Adkins, the physical plant can provide things like masks, sanitizers and wipes to students, staff and faculty in order to help them stay safe on campus. Some measures already put in place by the physical plant to facilitate a safer learning environment include more frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas and cleaning supplies in computer labs.

Adkins said that while Missouri Western had experienced some positive cases of COVID-19, he felt positively about the efforts of students and faculty in regards to masking and social distancing. According to Adkins, keeping campus open for the semester would require teamwork between students, staff and faculty with everyone doing their individual part.

For more information about the physical plant, visit its website here or call their main phone at (816) 271–4417 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. More information about COVID-19 at Missouri Western can be found here.