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Faculty and Staff

Maintaining the Wolf Den

A strong partnership between NC State Housing Facilities and University Housekeeping helps ensure that on-campus living spaces are clean, comfortable and safe for residents each year.

A wolf statue in front of Lee and Sullivan Residence Halls on a winter day

Every two weeks, Scott Wallace, assistant director of NC State Housing Facilities, invites a long list of employees from University Housing, University Housekeeping and other departments to meet him for a walkthrough of a different housing community on campus. During these walkthroughs, Wallace and other housing professionals personally examine the condition of each building, making note of any chipped paint, ceiling tiles or light fixtures that need replacing, furniture that needs cleaning and more. 

Biweekly walkthroughs of living spaces are just one piece of an intricate partnership between Housing Facilities and University Housekeeping. Though Housing Facilities is a unit within University Housing and University Housekeeping is part of the Facilities Division, they work together throughout the academic year — and beyond — to ensure a comfortable, safe and clean living and learning environment for campus residents. 

Scott Wallace opens the door to a vacant room in North Hall, where he and his colleagues in University Housing and University Housekeeping inspected the overall condition, appliances and other aspects to determine maintenance and cleaning needs.

“The collaboration between Housekeeping and Housing Facilities has a tremendous impact on the student experience at NC State,” Wallace said. “We are constantly working to create — and improve — the living and learning environment for our residents. Our teams are also ingrained in the NC State community, and they take a lot of pride and ownership in what they do to give residents the best experience possible.”

“The partnership between University Housekeeping and Housing Facilities is unique,” added Ada Baldwin, director of University Housekeeping. “As campus partners, communication, collaboration and coordination is crucial to the success of servicing the students and campus community. Our partnership embraces teamwork, professionalism and respect, which allows our staff to work together and accomplish the tasks with excellence.”

How it Works

To maintain NC State’s residence halls and apartments, the campus is divided into several regions. Each region has a housekeeping zone manager, regional facilities manager and a housing assistant director. Each of these team members work together on a daily basis to manage and communicate needs that arise in each residence hall or university owned apartment building.

About 90 housekeepers are working in six residential zones across campus for University Housekeeping. Daily tasks include cleaning and vacuuming all common spaces and shared restrooms, including deep cleanings twice a week. They also respond to unexpected messes in common areas.

Housing Facilities, meanwhile, oversees all building maintenance for NC State’s residence halls and apartments. On a day-to-day basis, they help residents by fixing appliances, lofting beds and other needs that arise in their living spaces.

Wallace and Kathleen Ruppe (left) examine the plumbing system in North Hall

The working relationships between Housing Facilities and University Housekeeping staff is critical when it comes time for building renovations. For example, they are currently coordinating Feed the Pack Food Pantry’s move into the computer lab on the first floor of North Hall and moving the computers into a new space in the Merry Monk common area upstairs. Both parties have been in close contact about the project’s timing as well as maintenance and housekeeping needs for the updated spaces.

The two departments also collaborated often during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare isolation housing spaces and deep clean rooms between residents. University Housekeeping updated its cleaning process and schedules to accommodate more frequent, thorough cleaning of common areas. Both teams also updated their procedures to address staff safety, ensuring that they followed protocol before entering residential spaces.

On the Move

The partnership between Housing Facilities and University Housekeeping truly shines when preparing to welcome members of the Wolfpack to their new homes each academic year. Summer is one of the busiest times for both departments as they renovate rooms, replace flooring, clean windows and sanitize spaces they can’t always get to when rooms are occupied during the academic year. 

Although the actual work happens during the summer, planning is underway before students leave for winter break. Projects are already being scheduled for summer 2023. Both teams are also in contact with Conference and Guest Services to determine when and where summer camps, meetings and other events will be so that they can plan accordingly and clean between visitors. They are also working to determine which buildings will house students staying on campus for summer courses.

University Housing and University Housekeeping staff walk through an area being renovated in the Merrymonk common area in North Hall

“Scott [Wallace] and his team do an excellent job of planning and letting us know what projects they’ll be doing, especially over the summertime,” said Vincent Taylor, associate director of University Housekeeping. “He shares spreadsheets with us that contain schedules and times that contractors will be working in particular areas, and if we ever have a question about anything I can call him to find out what’s going on and know about these things up front. So, again, communication is very important so that everybody can get in and do what they need to do.”

Winter break is also an important date on the calendar for Housing Facilities and University Housekeeping. Over the last few weeks, the two departments coordinated with their residence life and occupancy management colleagues to determine which living spaces they could enter and which ones would remain occupied over break. After performing routine maintenance checks and cleaning all the nooks and crannies, both units check off a box on a master spreadsheet that the room is ready to be occupied.

“We typically have several hundred residents moving in during the spring, and we want them to have the same experience that everyone else has during the bigger move-in process in the fall,” Wallace said. “Move-in is many folks’ first impression of NC State, so we don’t want people moving into a dirty room or a room with a sink that doesn’t work, a torn mattress or whatever it might be.”

At the end of the day, all Housing Facilities and University Housekeeping staff take pride in their work and know that what they’re doing is crucial in shaping the residential experience at NC State.

“The work that all of us do really reflects on NC State as a whole,” Taylor said. “For example, if a sink is broken when a student moves in, they’re not really going to say it was housing or housekeeping’s fault. Instead, this will be their first impression of NC State. That’s why these working relationships are so important because we’re all working towards the same goal of giving students the best experience and living environment possible.”