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For some, the campus never closes

December 22, 2011 12:00AM

Each year, just before Christmas and lasting until after the New Year’s holiday, Pittsburg State University “closes” the campus. Heat is reduced to the buildings and parking lots are nearly empty. But for a surprising number of PSU employees, the campus never really closes.

Tom Amershek, director of building trades and landscape maintenance, said the semester break is a good time for his crews to get some projects done without the added complications of thousands of students and hundreds of employees. That includes everything from painting to refinishing the basketball courts in the Student Rec Center.

“There are some projects that are really difficult to do when the campus is operating normally,” Amershek said. “Doing work over the semester break can be easier, not only for the workers, but also for the staff and students.”

Even if there weren’t special work projects to complete, some physical plant employees are on duty at all times, Amershek said.

“For example, there has to be someone in the boiler room, 24 hours a day,” Amershek said.

Another department that is always on duty is University Police. That includes dispatch and patrol staffing round the clock.

“The semester break is typically fairly quiet,” said Lt. T.J. Duncan, “but we are always patrolling and checking the buildings. We’re always available to respond to calls.”

Angela Neria, PSU’s chief information officer, said her staff will also be busy over the break, as well.

“We will have folks in OIS (Office of Information Services) working on yearly maintenance and ongoing programming projects,” Neria said. “There is always plenty to do.”

Across campus in Shirk Hall, Kathleen Flannery, director of development, said she will have staff available to help people who are interested in making tax-deductable gifts to the university before the end of the year.

“We will be closed only on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2,” Flannery said. “We are always available by phone and by e-mail.”

The university officially reopens on Jan. 3.

©2011 Pittsburg State University