University maintenance and operations costs up, projects moving forward

General Classroom Building ~ photo by Dustin Cox
General Classroom Building ~ photo by Dustin Cox
General Classroom Building ~ photo by Dustin Cox

As one walks around the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus, recent large-scale construction projects like the new addition to the Occhiato University Center and the completed general classroom building stand out. Smaller ones like the parking lot renovation behind the library or the sustainable roof of the art and music building are less noticeable.

Large or small, these projects are all parts of updating and maintaining the usefulness of campus.

Last year, CSU-Pueblo administrators spent $1.2 million on maintenance costs and $990,000 on custodial costs, according to Craig Cason, the university’s physical plant director.

“Unfortunately, just like costs everywhere else, the maintenance costs at CSU-Pueblo have increased as well. This is largely due to increased material costs, but as the building systems have evolved, the maintenance needs have increased as well,” Cason said.

Cason also said that there are currently 14 employees in the maintenance department and 28 in the custodial department. CSU-Pueblo is currently seeking to fill employment openings within the custodial department.  The average salary for maintenance and custodial staff is $35,000 a year.

Recent projects Cason and the other maintenance and custodial staff have been involved with were the general classroom and Art and Lorraine Soccer/Lacrosse Complex design and construction.

“The goal is to provide a seamless opening of the facility that the maintenance and custodial staff can effectively maintain. Maintenance personnel have also been involved in the development of the campuswide energy performance contract that is about to begin,” Cason added.

Sustainability, another aspect sought after in many departments and areas across campus at CSU-Pueblo, can be beneficial in many ways and complicated in others.

“Equipment and building systems are ever changing and becoming more and more complicated. This can lead to difficulty in operation and maintaining with more training necessary. Sustainability can provide energy savings, but in some cases, can increase the labor needed to perform the work. Making sure the staff is properly trained and have the necessary tools to be successful is pertinent,” Cason said.

Maintenance expenses, as defined by Investopedia, are “the costs incurred to keep an item in good condition and/or good working order,” and operating costsare defined as “expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.” The two combined cover a variety of projects, upkeep and care.

“CSU-Pueblo maintenance and custodial employees start their day making sure that the campus is ready before most people get out of their beds. They do so much more than just maintain and clean the facilities. They work long hours setting up for various events and making sure all goes well during the events. The maintenance and custodial staff members provide a service that many times goes unrecognized,” Cason said.


Edited by: Theresa Wolf