Facilities Operations

Policies & Guidelines


Heating and Cooling Background Information

One of the most challenging times of year for Facilities Operations and Maintenance is the transition between the heating season and the cooling season and back again.  Switching buildings from one mode to another is not an easy process, especially if the staff is limited during the time the switch takes place.  The heating and cooling system in most buildings is more than a matter of flipping a switch.  In some buildings, the cooling tower must be drained of water in the fall and filled again in the spring after temperatures are consistently above freezing.  This process involves workers manually opening and closing valves, spinning pumps and checking vacuum seals and pressure levels in compressors to make sure the system will run properly once it is started. It takes about eight days to convert the campus over from one system to the other, so once this occurs, we cannot go back quickly if heat is needed.  

We do not have a predetermined date when we switch buildings over from heating to cooling; however, certain legal guidelines state that October 15th is the date heat should be turned on by. We begin converting buildings over when the weather forecast indicates a prolonged stretch of warm weather. The most difficult times are periods or days when it might start out in the 30’s or 40’s in the morning and rise to 75 or 80 by afternoon.  For energy conservation purposes, you don’t want to heat a building and then spend half the day trying to cool it down.  Another challenge that could complicate the process is how the building is physically situated.  In the winter, some classrooms and offices on one side of a building might be comfortable or too warm while those on the other side might be too cold because of less exposure to the sun.

Heating and Cooling Guidelines

Buildings are usually prioritized according to the nature of the work and the activities that are taking place in the facilities.  In addition, we have some buildings on campus have windows that do not open.  The occupants of those buildings will be given a high priority.   

Executive Order No. 111 (EO 111), dated June 10, 2001, requires the state to reduce its energy consumption by 35 percent in its buildings and facilities by the year 2010.  Our role in achieving this objective is to adhere to the energy guidelines published by the state.

The state guidelines require interior spaces to be heated to a temperature that is no warmer than 68 degrees F.  Approved campus guidelines are 66-68 degrees F.

Hot-water temperatures at the faucets and showers should be no greater than 105 degrees F.

Comfort cooling guidelines require air conditioned spaces to be cooled to a temperature that is no lower than 78 degrees F.   All air conditioning and ventilation equipment should also be shut off on weekends, holidays and all other unoccupied periods.    

For campus buildings served entirely by a central air conditioning system, the units will be activated if the building temperature is 73 degrees F and the outside air temperature is 78 degrees F or higher.  Air conditioning units will not be activated when the building temperature is less than 78 degrees F. 

Special rooms such as labs, scientifically critical areas, data-processing equipment rooms, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, or 24-hour operations may require different temperature parameters.

Due to an inability to precisely control some temperatures, it may be the case that some spaces may be warmer than planned.  It may also be the case that central controls will not permit us to raise the temperature in specific spaces to 68 degrees F without significantly increasing the temperature in the rest of the facility.  In those situations, Facilities Operations will permit the use of portable space heaters.  HOWEVER, portable heaters not authorized by Facilities Operations will be removed. 

For buildings served partially by a central air conditioning system, the central cooling system will be turned on for scheduled events and comply with the above parameters.  Other spaces within these buildings will be ventilated with central fans and air handling equipment when room temperatures are greater than 68 degrees F.

Energy Management Control Systems                    

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Facilities Operations and Maintenance, along with the service contractor is responsible for the operation and maintenance of energy management systems on campus.  These very sophisticated systems are used to monitor and control major facilities related equipment such as fan systems, water pumps, boilers, water heaters, electrical equipment, air compressors, etc.  Thousands of electrical connections, sensors and relays give these microprocessor-based management systems the ability to sense, analyze and command real world energy consuming devices in several buildings on campus.

Management systems permit our staff to remotely observe and manually override some building equipment from one central location via dedicated LAN connected computers.

We are also responsible for the operation and maintenance of local environmental control systems in campus buildings.  These control systems are comprised of room thermostats, valves, dampers, relays and switches.  Many of these devices date back to when the building was first built and are air operated thus requiring frequent service.  Winter set points are 68 degrees and summer set points are 78 degrees. 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  In order to provide heat or air conditioning during an event, a FUSE form must be filled out and scheduled on AD ASTRA through Campus Auxiliary Services.  For best results, submit the form at least 10 to 15 business days prior to your event so maintenance can program equipment from the schedule.  If your event is not scheduled, chances are maintenance will not have any knowledge your event is taking place.
Emails are not the accepted way to schedule an event.     

Key Policy and Procedures

General Policy

All faculty, staff, teaching assistants and graduate assistants must fill out a key request card (obtainable through department secretaries or call x3308 to request the cards) in order to request keys. 

Security Controls

Do not pass keys from one employee to another.

No employee or student is permitted to duplicate campus keys.  

No door locks are to be installed unless they are College-owned and issued by the locksmith.

Emergency exit doors are not to be secured in any way that prevents safe egress by the building occupants during an emergency.  In addition, emergency exits are never to be left in an open or unlocked condition.

Lost keys of faculty and staff are to be reported to University Police immediately.  Upon receipt of lost key report, we will retrieve your key request cards on file and give to the locksmith for cutting of new keys. You will be asked to initial and date that you received duplicate keys.

Faculty and Staff Keys

One key card per key, area or space (view key card for requested info)

Building Masters require approval from the VP of Administration.

The department head/chairperson and building supervisor must approve all key requests for facilities under his/her control.  Key cards should be submitted to FOC, Service Building.

After receipt of request in FOC, allow up to 72 hours for issuance of key.  Keys can be picked up in the Service Building, Monday through Friday between 8am and 4pm.  Photo ID is required.

Keys must be returned to FOC when an employee terminates his/her service to the College.  Keys may not be passed from one employee to another.  Individuals transferring to different locations must submit a new key request and upon picking them up, must return the old keys.

Telephone calls will be made to the department when a key is ready.  Keys will be held for 60 days only before being returned to the locksmith. 

Student Keys
Students living in residence halls will be issued keys by the Director of Residence Life.

If a room key is lost, the student must report it to his/her RD.  If a lock change is warranted, the RD will fill out an online work order requesting the lock change.  The student will be assessed the cost.    

At occupancy termination or change, students must surrender their room key to the Director of Residence Life or his/her designee.  If key is not returned, the student will be assessed replacement cost.

Student Teaching Assistants and Student Graduate Assistants may be issued keys to academic areas and offices if warranted.  A key card must be approved.  When picking up their key, the assistant will be asked to fill out and sign a key policy form.  This form is kept on file and a copy is faxed to the VP for Administration. 

Snow and Ice Removal Guidelines

General Information – updated Nov. 22, 2013

The objective is to maintain an uninterrupted 24 hour-per-day safe and functional facility by determining the methods, number of personnel and resources necessary to perform the work and to increase effective snow removal while simultaneously ensuring cleanliness of buildings.  A plan has been implemented that shall take effect during impending or active snow events.

The campus consists of approximately seven miles of roads, 27 parking lots and 25,000 linear feet of paths and entranceways. On the average, the campus is subjected to 22 inches of snow per winter season as a result of two to three major storms. Of particular concern is the unsafe condition of freezing and thawing that is caused by night and day temperature differential.

During and after a significant snow storm, most members of the College community believe that their building and parking lot should have top priority and be shoveled first. This attitude only underscores the importance of clearly stating the following priorities.

Major arterial roads, walks and entranceways, especially the ones that connect critical service areas such as university police, the health center, the physical plant and food service will have high priority. All established ADA routes will be a primary concern and will take precedence over secondary paths. Access to residence halls, academic buildings and dining halls are also usually given priority based on the type of storm and the time of day. Secondary paths are given lower priority and are addressed as resources allow.

Weather reports are monitored by the Facilities Operations Center (FOC) and the grounds area head.  Both public radio and the National Weather Bureau band are used (University Police monitors actual weather conditions during evening hours). Facilities Operations also utilizes the Fleet Weather service out of Hopewell Junction, NY for weather advisories year round.

Based on information provided by Fleet Weather and other sources, the Director of Operations will hold a preliminary meeting regarding responsibilities related to the upcoming storm. All department assistant directors and shop supervisors will attend. If a major storm is projected, the Director of Operations will inform the grounds supervisor to implement a split shift for half of his crew to ensure clean up throughout the evening of the storm. The goal is to maintain continuous snow removal efforts until the facility is cleared of snow for normal operations.

Once a snow storm is anticipated, the following rules for deploying the workforce apply:

Custodial Services will be ready to clear their assigned areas which include all entryways, pathways and steps near their assigned buildings. They will check levels of deicing products and make sure their snow shovels are in storage.

The grounds department will maintain the campus snow removal process at the onset. They will ready all of their snow removal equipment and assignments at the grounds shop through the direction of the grounds supervisor.

The Director of Operations will meet with the structural supervisor and the grounds supervisor to ensure that emergency lists of personnel are correct and all equipment is functioning prior to the storm. All emergency callbacks for operation’s employees will be performed by the grounds supervisor based on the severity of the storm.

When a winter storm is underway, the grounds supervisor or his designee will be in contact with the Director of Facilities Operations. The Director of Operations will contact the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and update him on the current status of the snow removal efforts. The Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management will notify the Administration of current conditions.

When a severe storm seems imminent, a strategy is planned by the grounds supervisor, custodial and facilities management. The grounds supervisor is responsible for the type and number of equipment to be deployed. In addition, the grounds supervisor is responsible for the number of people deployed depending upon the type of storm. They have the authority to coordinate the activities of the custodial and automotive shop in order to insure the overall priorities and objectives are obtained. An established campus-wide snow zone map(s) clearly delineates where the grounds crew’s responsibility ends and custodial (and other) responsibility starts. A complete set of maps is on file in FOC (Facilities Operations Center).

Depending upon the time of day and the severity of the storm, (heavy snow, ice conditions, wind, etc.), the grounds supervisor plans how to deploy the resources so that the College operation can function. Four hours into the storm, the grounds supervisor makes a status report to his/her area head, who, in turn, highlights the overall effectiveness of the operation to the department director. Facilities Operations personnel will maintain continuous snow removal methods until the storm subsides. A snow log of all activities will be kept by the grounds supervisor throughout the duration of the storm.

If the storm continues, additional staff and equipment are called in by the grounds supervisor. A status report is made by the Director of Operations to the Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management for the purpose of identifying what campus activities are or are not operational.

The facilities operations work order center and customer service area will maintain a log of areas “to do” and complaints.  Addressing reported and observed unsafe conditions that may linger for several days after the initial storm.


  1. Also developed are volunteer lists for winter snow teams.
  2. Equipment condition concerns should be listed and reported to supervisors.
  3. All snow-related complaints by the college community be directed to facilities control for resolution and tracking – increasing continues improvement for service.
  4. Teams developed for snow plowing walkways and patios will be drafted from custodial, facilities and grounds as needed, considering that manpower and equipment are available.
  5. Maintain communications in regard to manpower, storm or snow event conditions, equipment, etc.

At this meeting, the actions of the department are reviewed and possible suggestions of how to improve the operation are discussed.