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Facilities and Construction works behind the scenes

Hannah Horton, Editor-in-Chief

Many students forget that school exists during the summer, but the Facilities and Construction staff’s work on campus never ends. Over the summer, they have been working relentlessly to ensure that TJC will be in top-notch condition for the school year.

According to Mark Gartman, Director of Facilities and Construction, this summer has been especially busy. “This was probably, in my eight years, one of the busiest summers we’ve had here at Facilities,” he remarked.

Gartman said that Facilities and Construction’s biggest projects over the summer included replacing the air handler units in Jenkins Hall and Vaughn Conservatory, creating a gathering area on the third floor of the Robert M. Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Center, and working to complete the Culinary Arts building, which will open in January.

The staff has also made progress on an ongoing renovation of the Wise Cultural Arts building. “That’s been a two-year project, maybe a three-year project,” Gartman said. “This year, we’ve replaced all the mechanical equipment and the controls … it will give it a better indoor climate.”

Facilities and Construction’s work isn’t limited to the Main Campus. Over the summer, they’ve also managed to build an HVAC simulator house for air conditioning students at West Campus. Gartman explained, “The air conditioner students can actually go inside this house and go up into the attic of this house, install ductwork, install inside units. And then, on the outside of the building, they’ll be able to install condensers for air conditioning. So, that’s a very big improvement for the air conditioning students.”

Gartman also mentioned several smaller projects that were completed over the summer, such as painting the exterior of Potter Hall and the interior of Jenkins Hall, power-washing bricks, and replacing floors in residential halls.

The Facilities and Construction workers have also been at work building benches and outdoor furniture for the campus. “We built a bench out here [in Baldwin Facilities and Construction], and somebody saw it and decided that they liked it. So, they told somebody else,” explained Gartman. Eventually, Dr. Linda Gary, Dean of the School of Humanities, Communications, and Fine Arts, requested 12 of the benches for Jenkins Hall.

The benches will also be used at another of Facilities and Construction’s projects: a new outdoor seating area outside of Bateman Hall

“Bateman Hall doesn’t really have a yard,” said Gartman, “they have a parking lot. So, across the street from Bateman, we’re going to build a sitting place … We’re taking cable spools – we’ve built some in-house. We’re building benches, and we’re going to put them out there and kind of make a sitting area. We put lights up, and we’ve talked to the police. Getting people off of the asphalt and onto the grass may help them a little bit. I think it will stay open until 10 or 10:30 every night, and then the lights will go out … It’s going to be a neat place. Just kind of a sitting area for some of our students that live on campus. We have planted seeds and watered. We trimmed the trees.”

“We feel we had a very good year,” said Gartman. “We got a lot of work accomplished, and it wasn’t just busywork. It was stuff that needed to happen.”

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