Unsung heroes: Campus facilities

Being understaffed isn’t always a problem.

They come in the night and leave when the sun rises. The trash and debris disappear when they do.

With over 19,000 students attending Citrus College, campus facilities have plenty to do. Though they get the job done, this year they are a bit understaffed.

The custodial team, who primarily work at night, are just one of many groups who work to maintain the campus’ image.

Facilities includes the maintenance team, grounds team, custodial team, the office staff and more who work to create the best environment possible for students, Grounds Supervisor Randy Cable said.

The grounds team normally has about 16 people on it, but this year they have 14, Cable said.

The maintenance team is short a few people as well, maintenance worker Frank Carganillo said.

Despite having less workers, Cable said the team he has right now is the best one he has ever had because rather than doing what is asked, they do what needs to be done. Because they have less people on their staff compared to previous years, they have to prioritize which jobs are the most important.

Facilities is able to complete all their duties because the team members pull together and communicate what needs to be done and the best way to do it, custodial supervisor Leslie Arnold said.

Students littering or messing with school property comes with the job Cable said.

“It’s disappointing,” Steve Gahring, 25-year Citrus grounds member said. “Young adults– you think that they should know better but a lot of times, they don’t use the trash cans that are there or don’t use the cigarette ashtrays, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Students create more work for campus maintenance but without them, they would not have jobs. Cable refers to it as a “Catch 22.”

Despite this, heat is a bigger struggle, especially if they are on the roof doing repairs.

“The biggest challenge half the time is the weather,” Gahring said. “In the winter time, if it’s raining, we still have to be out doing things.”

Though each team has different duties, they often overlap.

The custodial team’s duties of sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, stripping, extracting and sanitizing are endless, Arnold said.

The maintenance team handles plumbing, electrical, fire safety and more.

If a member of the grounds team is having an electrical problem, they might call maintenance to go help them out.

The lack of a few facilities members is made up for with better work ethic and is balanced by the different teams backing each other up.

A couple of maintenance workers spent last Thursday morning transporting and unloading packages. They were moving multiple boxes from a truck, balancing them in their arms and trying to hold the door open for each other. Though they were eager to be recognized, they did not have time to chat because it would put them behind schedule.

The grounds team is responsible for cleaning and setting up the football field for games. Other schools such as Azusa High School and Gladstone High School rent the field so they are setting up and taking down a few football games every weekend in addition to their other daily duties like cleaning the stadium restrooms.

Though the maintenance crew does not trim the hedges or sweep the parking lots, they contribute to the functionality of campus as well. Without them, there would not be working toilets, lights and air conditioners.

The lack in manpower this semester has not decreased the quality of facilities’ work.

“The most rewarding part is when you can stand back and look at what you’ve done,” Gahring said.

The day the fences were taken down around the VA building, students immediately began to make themselves comfortable on the new benches, making use of the new space. The wood chip hill by the VA building is actually meant to be used as a walkway, not just to add to the visual, Cable said.

It is all worth it when someone appreciates the work they do and a “simple thank you is good enough” for him, Carganillo said.

“When the campus is clean and well-maintained and inviting, it’s safe, it looks good and people are comfortable, what’s better than that?” Cable said. “You certainly don’t want to go to some dirty, trash-filled terrible place. You don’t want to go there to get your education.”


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