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Campus Life

Jay Campbell Discusses How Facilities Management Is Keeping Campus Safe

New associate vice chancellor of facilities management answers common questions about how the department is ensuring campus safety

Author Kiley Kudrna | Publish Date September 1, 2020

Jay Campbell, MBA, was recently appointed associate vice chancellor of facilities management. He discusses his new role and the extensive safety measures Facilities Management is taking to make our campus clean and safe for the fall semester.

You were named associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management on August 1, 2020, but you’ve been part of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus (and CU Denver) for some time.  What attracted you to the new position, and what are your chief priorities in your new role? 

Jay Campbell: I began at CU Denver | Anschutz five years ago with this role in mind from the very beginning. My predecessor, Dave Turnquist, who had been with the university for 17 years at that point, had an approximate window of five years on his horizon for retirement and was hiring my position with this eventual succession in mind. We both worked diligently over the past five years to enable us to have as seamless a transition as possible, in order to continue to build on the tremendous culture and accomplishments our department has realized since breaking ground at CU Anschutz 20 years ago. 

As we enter the next phase of potential growth on campus, we will focus on sustainable development and stewardship of university resources, and keeping up with growing maintenance demands of our facilities as they age. President Mark Kennedy’s strategic planning initiative includes the key pillars of deferred maintenance and sustainability, which are also key strategic priorities of Facilities Management. Looking forward to the post-COVID workplace, how we occupy and use space at the university may look very different than it has in the past. How we are able to lead, enable and support these changes is where I intend to focus the great minds within Facilities Management. To keep them sharp and focused, we will continue to support a robust professional development and training program for our employees.

How does COVID-19 impact campus cleaning/disinfecting protocols? 

Most buildings on campus do not have

operable windows, and the changes we

have made to air-handling

systems are more than sufficient to

ensure a good supply of fresh air.

– Jay Campbell

We made the transition to a new custodial service provider at the beginning of March, just prior to the campus restrictions that went into place as a result of the pandemic. KleenTech has been tremendous to work with and has enabled us to respond to the ever-changing recommendations swiftly and with ease. They even proactively purchased EMist sanitizing foggers in anticipation of increased deep-cleaning needs, and we have been making disinfectant cleaning rounds throughout campus since mid-March. We have implemented new cleaning schedules and have begun to deploy additional hand-sanitizing supplies across campus at building entrances and elevator lobbies. More details of our efforts and the new cleaning protocols can be found on the Facilities COVID Response website.

Are there special HVAC/ventilation considerations when re-opening spaces for return-to-campus activity? How is your team addressing those, if so? 

Similar to changing protocols around cleaning, building air-supply and filtration recommendations have changed as a result of COVID. Beginning in early April, the Facilities HVAC, Building Performance, and Building Automation teams have been working to assess existing capabilities and making modifications that meet or exceed CDC and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) recommendations. Mostly, these changes have resulted in increased fresh air intake (i.e. less air recirculation) and higher levels of filtration at the air handlers. It has been a daunting task, as every building’s air-handling systems are unique and we have been mindful of critical campus functions that never really stopped throughout the pandemic response. Nevertheless, our buildings are operating at peak performance, and we are prepared to support any and all campus functions.

If I have a window in my workspace, should I keep it open? 

Most buildings on campus do not have operable windows, and the changes we have made to air-handling systems are more than sufficient to ensure a good supply of fresh air. However, some campus residents are lucky enough to reside in one of the more seasoned, ex-Army buildings and may have an operable window. CDC and ASHRAE do recommend, as an optional measure, the possibility of opening individual windows to maximize fresh air within the workspace if the occupant desires and is still comfortable with the resultant temperature and humidity levels. I recommend reaching out to Facilities Management at 303-724-1777 to inquire about this option.

What other safety suggestions do you have as more people move back into offices and labs? 

The campus has developed and implemented multiple safety measures to enable as many people as possible to safely return to campus. The best thing people can do as they prepare to return to campus is to listen, read and learn about the new and improved campus protocols by visiting the CU Anschutz Return to Campus website, following their unit’s return to campus plan, and abiding by all posted signage and guidelines around campus.

How has COVID-19 impacted Facilities' implementation of lab spacing and other social distancing protocols? 

In partnership with the Office of Institutional Planning, the Facilities team has prepared virtually every usable space on campus to meet physical distancing guidelines. Through changes in individual behavior, widespread adoption of PPE and masks, and carefully designed engineering controls, workers on campus are able to perform their duties without compromising their safety or the safety of their peers.

Are hand sanitizer and/or wipes available in campus buildings for those on campus? 

As you can imagine, a worldwide viral pandemic wreaks havoc on the supply chain and our ability to get everyday supplies that we all took for granted six months ago. Luckily, we have an amazing team at the Procurement Service Center that has been working diligently for months to secure vital supply chains of key cleaning and sanitizing products. You should already see buckets of hand-sanitizing wipes going up in building entries and elevator lobbies. Furthermore, in classrooms and break rooms, you will notice spray bottles of disinfectant that are being used before and after activities. Finally, we have been able to secure large quantities of hand-sanitizing gel that is available for purchase by individual units, schools and colleges. For PPE and sanitizing supply questions, or to order supplies as part of your return to campus plan, please email ppeprocurement@cuanschutz.edu.

Are there additional protocols/precautions your team is preparing in anticipation of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall or winter? 

Campus leadership is continually monitoring local and regional health guidelines and public health orders, and Facilities continues to work with them on planning for multiple future scenarios. All of the improvements we have enabled in campus cleaning and disinfecting, and building air-handling improvements, put us in a good position to handle any changes enacted as a result of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases. You can rest assured that we have built the capacity and capability within Facilities to support any increase or decrease in campus activity as a result.

What are all of the areas Facilities Management oversees?

In Facilities Management, we are responsible for everything you can see, touch, hear and smell on campus. This includes the operation and maintenance of all physical facilities, laboratory support (emergency power circuit management, freezer maintenance, autoclave and glasswasher maintenance), fire and life safety systems, central utility plant energy production and distribution, sustainability, minor renovations and major capital projects, campus move services, Facilities’ finance and administration and human resources teams, facilities IT, locksmith services, customer support center, parking, roads and grounds, mail room, the U.S. Postal Service office in the Fitzsimons Building, campus food services, bookstore management, printing services, events setup, disposals, solid waste and recycling, EMS reservation management support, and custodial operations. In total, there are about 250 people on the Facilities team. 

How are you keeping your team members safe? 

Facilities has implemented the same guidelines and PPE practices as everyone else on campus. In addition, we have made liberal use of extended working hours and split shifts to increase physical space between team members, while still allowing us to fully support campus activities. Those functions that can be done at full capacity remotely are being done remotely, and we will continue to do so as long as is necessary.

How would you describe the critical role Facilities plays in our campus community?

I like to think of Facilities as the foundation upon which every member of the campus community sits, both literally and figuratively. There isn’t a single role or function, unit, school or college that doesn’t rely on the physical assets and/or services provided by Facilities. More importantly, we feel strongly that the broader campus community and leadership recognize this and support our efforts wholeheartedly.

What can the rest of us do to help support the Facilities team in their work? 

Everyone on campus, in one way or another, is the eyes and ears of Facilities Management. We often hear of Facilities-related issues within buildings from the employees or students within the building, or from the custodial employees as they do their important work at all hours of the night. By proactively speaking up when you see or hear of an issue, you enable us to respond early and take care of minor issues before they become major problems. Most importantly, you can support us by simply saying thank you when you see your local Facilities or custodial employee in your area. These are the people that want to be there to support you in the critical work that you do.

What’s your favorite part of the job? 

It’s the people. Having such a dedicated group of people working with me is very fulfilling. Working with leadership across the campus has been amazing. I’m so impressed by the collective brain power and the engagement of everyone. It’s amazing what people are capable of doing and how thoughtful people are. That’s what I appreciate the most. The COVID pandemic has expanded our interaction and collaboration with everyone on campus.