UB Ellicott Complex Maintenance staff discusses the joys of the job
David Boody, a painter on the Ellicott Maintenance staff, patches up and paints walls throughout the dorms.
While checking for room damages at the end of one semester, Boody noticed students getting artistic by covering up paint damages on their wall with their hands.
“Finger painting and prints were smeared all over the wall and the students thought that was a repair. The entire wall needed to get sanded down, re-patched and re-painted,” Boody said.
Boody described the student’s creative effort as outrageous and that it stood out from a hundred yards away.
Be it finger-painting, toilet troubles or an insect infestation, the maintenance staff located within the Ellicott Complex is equipped to handle any emergency or non-emergency matters in dorms. Ellicott Complex Maintenance is composed of expert tradesmen who are on call 24 hours a day for students via the work order system, which is serviced on the Campus Living website.
Pam Gruber, office manager at Ellicott Maintenance, is one person in charge of the complex’s work order system. Gruber said some students will call in with emergencies, but the system is all online for student use.
“It’s best for location-wise [problems] that people put them online so, that way, there’s no misunderstanding where a room is or what building work is needed in,” Gruber said. “I always tell kids if they’re calling up [Maintenance] to put it right into the description box where they’re writing down what the problem is.”
Once an order is submitted, mechanics and electricians are called in to fix problems that can range from graffiti on walls to clogged drains.
Maintenance has even gotten calls about pests.
One year, a student’s parents called regarding their terrified son who believed a rodent was lurking under his radiator.
“He couldn’t go into his room and he lived [in a single], so it turned out when we had the exterminator to go in there, it was a spoon that happened to be there,” Gruber said. “He was someone that maybe should’ve had a roommate but it’s hard and your first six months being away from home is a horrifying feeling so it’s good that at least they know they can ask for help from us.”
Scott Cleveland, a plumber on the Ellicott Maintenance staff, helps fix issues from plugged drains to dripping pipes in the dorms. Cleveland notes the importance for students to submit orders both efficiently and correctly.
“If you’ve got a plugged toilet or a sink, I want it done right away. You pay big money to be here and you deserve quality service and the only way we can [provide] service is to know there’s an issue,” Cleveland said.
Some of the work orders have left memorable moments for the Ellicott Maintenance staff.
Vince Biondi, a maintenance assistant, is a jack-of-all-trades.
Biondi, who started 17 years ago as a cleaner in Governor’s Complex, began his job as a maintenance assistant in 2003 and has experienced some campus fame. Biondi’s picture is featured alongside the work order submission page and a student once noticed him on the job.
“They say ‘Oh, I’ve seen you on the Campus Living website’ where I’m kneeling down doing a repair so it’s an honor and it makes me really proud,” Biondi said. “I didn’t even know the student but they came up to me, so it’s a memorable thing in a beautiful way.”
For Cleveland, another unforgettable order originated at the bottom of a toilet bowl in the dorm bathrooms when he had to “chop up” feces with a piece of wood.
Aside from the offbeat moments the job can offer, the Ellicott Maintenance staff takes every order seriously.
Some of the joys of the job for Biondi include the random thank-you’s he gets for fixing dispensers in the bathrooms or otherwise. He doesn’t expect the appreciation but it’s an added bonus for a job he already adores.
“I love it and we’re here for the students to make this place awesome – that’s our goal. They live here and we want the very best for them,” Biondi said.
Benjamin Blanchet is an asst. arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com