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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


While you were out UA residence hall facilities employees help clean up

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona residence hall custodians Juana Loya (left) and Maria Hernandez (right), both having over 4 years experience at the UA, clean part of Likins Hall’s media area on Wednesday Dec. 21, 2011 during the winter recess. The two are part of a 38 member custodian crew and are responsible for thousands of rooms among 24 different UA residence halls.

While students were away this winter break, custodial and maintenance crews were in residence halls fixing and preparing the rooms for the spring semester.

June Barile, who has been a Residence Life Facilities custodian for the last five years, helped clean Likins Hall by scrubbing the common area during winter break.

“When the students are here, you are basically picking up after them,” Barile said. “But when they are gone, we can close off areas and get to work.”

During the two weeks of break, all residence halls undergo an extensive and thorough cleaning and repair schedule to evaluate aspects of the facilities that cannot be taken care of when students reside in the buildings, according to Alex Blandeburgo, director of facilities for Residence Life.

“During the time when the halls are occupied, it’s really hard to get in and do some of the maintenance work,” Blandeburgo said. “We take the time during the break to do more in-depth activities. After four months of use by students, starting when we open the doors in August, a lot of places, especially common areas, really need to get cleaned.”

This includes scrubbing and disinfecting all communicable surfaces, cleaning floors, replacing damaged items like broken handles or doors and checking out vacant dorm rooms.

Elizabeth Raso, custodial services manager for Residence Life Facilities, said checking out a vacant dorm room occurs when a student will not return for the spring semester. The student is expected to pack up and remove their belongings by the last week of the fall semester.

“There are so many variables to why a student decides to leave their dorm,” Raso said. “It could be because of economic reasons, they have changed colleges or they have found a place off campus.”

According to Raso, last year Residence Life Facilities checked out 522 students who would not come back to their rooms after the winter break. in comparison to 241 students this year.

“We go in and disinfect that half of the room so that it is ready for the next student who will move in for the remainder of the school year,” Raso said. “If both students have left, we will go in and clean everything from top to bottom.”

Public health sophomore Jacqueline Butler is expecting to receive a new roommate for the spring semester.

“It’s been interesting changing everything and getting ready for them,” said Butler, who let custodial workers into her dorm room to clean her former roommate’s space a week before the halls closed for the winter break. “For the fall semester, I did a mutual roommate request and roomed with someone I knew from high school, and this time I have no idea who I will be rooming with. It’s going to be exciting meeting someone new.”

The last day students were able to stay in their dorm rooms for the fall semester was Dec. 17, 2011. Each room in the residence halls was given a letter from Residence Life Facilities indicating custodial and maintenance workers would be entering dorm rooms during the break to conduct maintenance like replacing air filters or repairing broken fixtures.

Aidan Clevinger, a pre-education freshman, said he was comfortable having workers in his dorm room during the break while he was away from campus.

“I took all of my valuable stuff with me,” Clevinger said. “And if they work for the university then I am going to trust that they are honest people.”

Raso explained that some students may feel comfortable leaving belongings behind or having workers in their dorm room during the break because by the time the student is ready to leave after the fall semester, he or she has developed a relationship with the custodial staff.

“It’s kind of an honor if you think about it. We are providing that home for 7,000 students and they really rely on us,” Raso said. “If I have a custodian that has been in the department for 20 years and has worked with over 5,000 students every year, that’s a pretty big impact.”

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