Since most students living on campus moved out, the Grounds and Maintenance Department is left with more time to focus on summer projects.
“There’s hardly any times ever where our dorms kind of sit empty,” Shawn Holtgren, Vice President for Student Development at Bethel University, said. “This gives us a small window of time that we’ve never had to get into the dorms and do some deep cleaning, to do some renovations, even painting, those types of things.”
The Physical Plant Director, Joe Zappia oversees the projects and makes sure they get done and on budget. He communicates daily with the Administrative Assistant to President Gregg Chenoweth, Miriam Wertz, about the projects. She served as the interim plant director before Zappia took the role.
Every summer, the Maintenance and Grounds Department is tasked with making repairs, patching and painting throughout campus. But the deep cleaning needed for this summer adds more responsibility to the department.
“We have started deep cleaning ALL rooms on campus,” Zappia said in an email interview. “We have cleaned all of the buildings: shampooed carpets, pressure wash all hard surfaces, and disinfected every area in classroom settings.”
The buildings that need to be cleaned include the Academic Center, the Dining Commons, the Everest-Rohr building, Huffman Administration building, etc. This week, Zappia said his department will be working in all the dorms.
In addition to repairs and deep cleaning, the department is also finishing its work on the Welcome Center. The expansion of the Welcome Center will be completed on April 20.
Zappia said the addition to the Welcome Center is being completed due to the generosity of the donors.
“The Welcome Center was donated by several very near and dear to us alumni,” Zappia said. “Even part of the Welcome Center is being donated by a family that is going on 5 generations of Bethel Grads. How impressive is that!”
The department started working on the foundation for the Lehman Family Training Center. The training center will serve as another space for Bethel sports teams to practice.
Zappia is working in liaison with several local contractors including DJ Construction of Goshen, IN. The training center is expected to be finished by December 2020.
“This new facility will host some much-needed area for work out space,” Zappia said. “This will also free up gym space for all students to be able to have more access to courts for basketball, volleyball and other student activities.”
The other duties the department is completing are installing the irrigation system and planting sod. Also, the intramural fields are going to be prepped for the next school year.
The department will be able to work on their summer projects until conferences start in early June.
Tentatively, Bethel is scheduled to host some conferences and summer camps. Holtgren said only one conference in May has cancelled so far. Other conferences such as Summer of Service in late June are sticking to their plans.
Zappia said the Physical Plant is the greatest of all time and he appreciates each of his co-workers. He also gave credit to Jerry White for handling the budgetary system well during this time.