Facilities Team Maintains EKU’s Reputation as the Campus Beautiful

Published on October 20, 2023

By Christian Bustos and Elise Russell

Whether it’s keeping the power on, setting up events, or ensuring Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) lives up to its reputation as the Campus Beautiful; EKU’s Facilities Management is the hardworking team behind the smooth operations on campus. They’re on campus early in the mornings before the hustle and bustle of the school day begins, and they’re around throughout the day, night, weekends, in adverse weather and even during holidays to ensure the campus is not only habitable but also comfortable and safe for students. 

EKU was allocated nearly $55 million in 2022 through state appropriations for asset preservation, giving the university an opportunity to address maintenance needs across campus. EKU facilities, in partnership with contract teams, has since updated five cooling towers, four boilers, four chillers, three elevators and three roofs and completed 25-plus additional maintenance and facility renovation projects. While many of these upgrades may not be highly visible, the behind-the-scenes work is critical to the upkeep and longevity of campus spaces. 

For facilities team member Magan Lewis, relocation supervisor, she likes that “every day is different.” Her team is responsible for moving offices at EKU and setting up for events, such as graduation, Big E Welcome, Homecoming and the many functions that occur at EKU on a daily basis.  

Lewis, who is originally from Berea, Kentucky, started working at EKU as a custodian at 19 years old. The opportunity provided her with benefits, such as health insurance and a tuition waiver, right out of high school. From there, she worked her way up to environmental technician and now her current position. 

“I knew I eventually wanted to get into a management role, and this job has been a dream for me,” Lewis said. 

Facilities Management is staffed with dedicated personnel who serve the campus community. Running a campus with a blend of historic and modern facilities requires broad-spectrum trades specialists. These areas encompass engineering and construction; space utilization; facilities services administration; campus utility systems and climate services; and buildings and grounds maintenance to include carpentry, electrical services, environmental services, heat plant, housing maintenance, HVAC, paint and finishes, periodic maintenance, plumbing, recycling and refuse, and vehicle maintenance. These teams actively partner with Aramark for custodial services and grounds maintenance functions.  

Justin Wiseman, an interior finisher with buildings and grounds maintenance, fulfills repair work orders and replaces flooring for the residence halls. “I definitely like working with a team—you get everything finished a lot faster. The people around me and Eastern have always been good to me,” said Wiseman. 

Meanwhile, another interior finisher, Travis Willis, works on the historic buildings on EKU’s campus. Willis shared, “I like bringing stuff back to how it was first built—we want it to be a welcoming environment.

 Maintaining the original pieces of architecture on campus helps to showcase the rich history of EKU. 

“If part of your brand is going to be being the Campus Beautiful, you’ve got to have an A-plus team to deliver on that, and this campus has never looked more beautiful despite all of the amazing renovations that you’ve been doing over the last year,” said EKU President David McFaddin at the 2023 employee convocation, addressing the facilities team. “I know that many times it may feel like it goes unseen or it goes without a thank you, but let me say for everyone on this campus: Thank you for making this a beautiful place to work, a beautiful place to play and a beautiful place to learn.” 

As the Employer of Choice, EKU is one of the largest employers in the local community and recently earned a Forbes Best Employers ranking for Kentucky. Those interested in a career at EKU can search and apply for open positions at careers.eku.edu.