Matt Gier used to coach the men’s lacrosse team at The College of Idaho, so it’s not a surprise that the Director of Residence Life leaned in to the sports analogy.
“Yeah, absolutely, it’s the two-minute warning,” Gier said to describe preparations for the upcoming school year. “It’s getting halls prepped and getting the last details done. Hopefully that two minutes goes nice and slow.”
Students have been moving onto campus for two weeks as fall sports teams have arrived to begin practice. Those final details have been going on around them. Planning and preparation that began sometimes a year earlier comes to fruition as projects finish prior to the first day of classes on August 23.
The flooring in the Village Apartments received a major overhaul. Shower plumbing in Hayman Hall was upgraded, as was the dorm’s kitchen. Multiple classrooms in the Langroise Center for Performing & Fine Arts received new furniture and new paint while Strahorn Hall’s chiller was updated to improve the air conditioning. While all of those projects were being completed, the day-to-day tasks also got done. The College’s custodial staff kept the buildings clean and the grounds crew kept all of the campus grounds manicured.
Most of it is scheduled out months in advance, but there are always little surprises. Some external plumbing needed to be repaired outside of Anderson Hall, which led to a section of the parking lot to be pulled up to complete the job.
“It’d be great if these things happened in June but sometimes they happen in August,” Gier said. “It can become a scramble to get things done but we always get across the finish line.”
A lot of the work is done by the College’s Facilities staff. While the custodial and grounds staff manage the daily tasks, Facilities manager Amelia Metheny and operations assistant Payton Jolley spend a lot of time coordinating with contractors on larger projects, scheduling staff, and communicating with departments across campus about what is happening and when it will be happening. That includes a lot of communication with Gier and the rest of the Residence Life staff.
“A lot on the phone, a lot via the work order system, and a lot via e-mail,” Gier said with a laugh about how Residence Life and Facilities keep in touch. “A lot of communication, but it all works.”
Metheny says good teamwork and good communication are vital. It keeps expectations clear and allows the Facilities department to maintain its schedule and also plan ahead.
“It’s hot right now, we’re keeping the air conditioning up and running, but we’re focusing on winter right now,” Metheny said. “It’s a good time to work on anything that is heat-related, so there are no heating issues for the buildings.”
She says the department tries to plan at least a year out when possible – Strahorn Hall’s new chiller was ordered over a year ago and just installed this summer – to identify projects that need completion.
The end goal for both departments is to create a positive environment for students.
“That’s the experience I want students to have,” Gier said. “I want them to say, ‘wow, I’m glad I chose this college, I’m glad I’m living on campus.’”
The College of Idaho has a 132-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.