Cal Poly Facility Services reduced the frequency of landscaping, custodial and building maintenance services to adjust to budget cuts beginning in fall.
“We want to make sure that we don’t use more resources than we need to. We want to make our system as efficient as possible,” said Scott Loosley, assistant director of operations.
Landscaping services is responsible for landscape design and construction, sports turf management, weed control and irrigation, according to the Cal Poly Landscape Services Web site.
Dropping from about a $12,000 to about a $10,000 budget this year, Cal Poly landscaping services will decrease regularity of mowing, trimming and watering. For example, hedges that were trimmed every one to two weeks might be trimmed every two to four weeks instead, Loosley said.
In addition, landscape services will not allocate any money towards landscaping projects, including annual installation and maintenance of flowerbeds and trees, he said.
Despite the reduction in landscape maintenance funds, landscape services will attempt to maintain Cal Poly’s high standard of appearance.
“A big part of Cal Poly’s image is our landscape. It’s the first impression that people get when they come to the campus. Our landscape has that curbside feel that makes it unique and we want to try to keep that image by implementing changes in areas that are less conspicuous,” Loosely said.
Head of the landscape architecture department, Margarita Hill, agrees that Cal Poly has a high standard when it comes to landscaping.
“In terms of campus design, there are a lot of quality open spaces designed to provide the students, faculty and staff with a lot of variety. People can spend time in a quiet garden or in large open spaces, like Dexter Lawn. There are little gems of gardens all over campus,” she said.
In order to maintain a good image, high priority lawns such as the Spanos Stadium field and the lawn in front of the Performing Arts Center will not be affected. Other, more discreet lawns, such as the lawn outside the Alan A. Erhart Agriculture building, will see a reduction in watering and mowing frequency, Loosley said.
While landscaping services cutbacks might go unnoticed, the decreased frequency of many custodial services, including the cleaning of interior and exterior walkways, reception areas, labs, private offices and windows, might be more apparent.
Faculty offices will most likely see the biggest reduction in cleaning frequency. Before budget cuts, faculty offices were cleaned once a week. It is currently undetermined what the cleaning frequency will be for the upcoming school year.
“Hopefully the faculty can pick up some of the slack by taking out their own garbage and recycling to communal bins in the hallways and helping to keep their offices clean,” Loosley said.
Window washing is another custodial service that has been, and will continue to be, drastically reduced. Only high profile buildings like the Performing Arts Center will undergo frequent window washing, Loosley said.
Unlike private offices and windows, all of the restrooms and classrooms will continue to be cleaned every day.
“Our highest priority is making sure that we maintain all health and safety standards,” Loosley said.
Other services, including recycling and garbage collection from classrooms and outside bins and street sweeping will not be reduced, as cutting back on these services could generate unsanitary conditions, Loosely said.
Like custodial services, building repairs might go longer without attention.
“Buildings might go longer without paint jobs, something like a roof leak might go longer without repair and a bathroom might remain out of order longer,” said Mark Hunter, the executive director of Cal Poly Facility Services.
A reduction in facility services goes hand in hand with a reduction in staff and a reduction in facility staff work hours.
During last year, the landscape services staff was reduced by two full-time employees out of a total of 24 employees.
Student labor will also be reduced, creating fewer on-campus job opportunities in facility services for students, Hunter said.
In addition to reducing staff, the implementation of two furlough days per employee, which began August 1st, will also decrease the number of working hours of each employee by 10 percent. Landscaping will lose the equivalent of about one full-time employee and custodial services, with a total of 81 employees, will lose the equivalent of about eight full-time employees due to furloughs, Loosley said.
“We are trying to organize furlough days so that they have the least impact on the facility services,” Loosley said.
Although it is certain that the frequency of facility services will be cut, details such as how much and what are still being discussed.
“We plan to get a database established and post the frequencies of services on our facilities Web site,” Loosley said.
When the frequencies are determined, the campus will be notified, most likely by means of a campus-wide e-mail, Loosley said.