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Northern Illinois University
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Physical Plant
Functions and Procedures
Procedure No. 8-1
Issued 7/2001


The objective of the Physical Plant Department is to provide an environment conducive to education and research. The philosophy of the department is to insure the availability of buildings, utilities, and equipment used by others in the performance of their duties, thus enabling them the greatest opportunity economically feasible to pursue the academic endeavors for which this institution is constructed.

The Physical Plant Department contributes to the preparation of the Capital Improvement Budget for proposed buildings, location of proposed buildings, acquisition of land, remodeling, rehabilitation, utilities and site work, and cooperative projects involving the university, city, county, township, and State Highway Department.

The Physical Plant Department functions as a service organization delegated the responsibility of maintenance and operation of the physical facilities of the university. Projects are predicated primarily on maintenance and operation. A secondary, but highly important responsibility of the Physical Plant is the rendering of services to various university departments where Physical Plant manpower, equipment, or other related facilities can help further their academic endeavor. This might include installation of chalkboards and construction of freestanding units, such as: bookcases, tables and all displays. Such work is considered as a capital improvement or remodeling by the change of function of an area, and is construed by the Physical Plant to not be a strict maintenance and operation responsibility as far as finance is concerned. The department requesting work of this nature should be prepared to pay the expenses involved in the work.

Following is a brief description of the units that report directly to the Director of the Physical Plant:

Building Maintenance

This area is made up of Journeymen Crafts who are responsible for repair and maintenance of buildings, utilities, and equipment on all the Northern Illinois University campuses. The unit is supervised by the Assistant Director of the Physical Plant and includes the Work Order Desk Dispatchers, Carpenters, Electricians, Elevator Maintenance, Key Control, Masons, Painters, Plumbers and Refrigeration Mechanics. Each craft has a Foreman whose duties include duty assignment of crafts, maintenance of an on-call duty roster, requesting of supplies and verifying that materials have been received. This area renders valuable information in the review of plans and specifications of new buildings and remodeling projects.

Building Services

The responsibility of this area is to maintain and improve the general cleanliness of the buildings. The unit is supervised by the Director of the Physical Plant. In addition, there is a Superintendent of Building Services for Revenue Bond and Superintendent of Building Services for General Revenue facilities. There are approximately 200 Building Service Workers in the Bond Revenue and General Revenue buildings. In addition to general cleaning, Building Services personnel aid staff and students in moving furniture, and other similar activities to promote better living and working conditions.

Grounds Department

This area is responsible for maintenance of campus grounds which includes sidewalks, campus streets and parking lots both on the main campus and most satellite campuses. Work by this department is either scheduled or emergency. Scheduled work includes grass mowing, weed control, planting or transplanting trees and shrubs, seeding and sodding, maintenance of flower beds, operation of the greenhouse, marking athletic areas, street cleaning and repair, garbage and refuse removal and parking lot maintenance. This unit is under the auspices of the Director of the Physical Plant and supervised by the Superintendent of Grounds. Emergency work includes support services for other craft areas as needed, street sanding, snow removal, and/or weather-related emergencies such as flooding or wind damage.

Heating Plant

This area maintains the round-the-clock operation of the two main power plants that supply high-pressure steam for heating and air conditioning to all buildings on the campus. The Heating Plant also services smaller heating plants and furnaces in facilities owned/leased by the university. In addition to the power plants, the department maintains equipment throughout the campus related to heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and temperature control equipment throughout the campus. The maintenance and operation of the campus public water supply distribution system is the responsibility of the Heating Plant. This unit is supervised by the Chief Plant Operating Engineer, under the general supervision of the Associate Director of the Physical Plant.

Lorado Taft Field Campus

A separate contingency of personnel takes care of normal operation and maintenance of the Lorado Taft Field Campus. The phone number is 753-2111.

Human Resources

The Physical Plantís Human Resources program is monitored by this area. It is the responsibility of this department to provide effective and efficient administration of human resources matters and to serve as the primary interface between the Physical Plant and Human Resource Services.