Toilet’s backed up. A mess in the hall. Light won’t come on. Wall needs painting. Tree limb down. AC’s out. Window cracked. Who ya’ gonna’ call?
John Tilley and his 38-person team, that is. They are Building Services, the people that keep Northeast Campus humming along – clean, comfortable and ready for teaching and learning to take place. They are on-site or on-call around the clock, not only for Northeast, but also for the Haltom City Center, the TCC Opportunity Center and the new Riverside location.
“So, we’re pretty busy,” said Tilley of his crew of electricians, plumbers, groundskeepers, mechanics, general maintenance workers, carpenters, control specialists, plant operators and custodial supervisors.
Their duties mostly are to repair or maintain facilities already in place, but they also support the District Construction Services staff. “Sometimes they’ll ask us to complete some of the projects that are smaller,” Tilley said, “or they might have tasks within their projects that we can do for them.”
Recent examples of the latter are the acronym signs intended to make it easier for students and visitors to locate buildings. The large letters high on building walls were done by Construction Services. The smaller letters above the door were done by Tilley’s crew. They are also going to paint the directional signs around campus.
“Hopefully, it will all work,” he said. “I laugh, but we have all these signs up and the students still don’t look up past their phones. I’ve been driving on campus, checking things out, and I’ll still get pulled over and they’ll say, for instance, “Where’s Admin?” And, you can turn them around and in big letters you see NADM up on the wall. And, they’re holding a map, too. But it does help.”
Building Services can – and does – respond quickly to calls that involve repair or maintenance of infrastructure already in place. When it comes to new projects or construction, however, it all depends on what Tilley calls “the process.”
NE President Allen Goben, for instance, may want a storage space turned into an office – something well in the scope of what Tilley’s team can do – but there’s “the process” that must wind its way to a conclusion. “He has to develop what he’s wanting and has to go through Facilities,” he said. “There’s now a planning team, so if you’re wanting to change a space, you’re wanting to add a door, you’ve got to go through planning a development. It goes through their process and then, it just depends.
Building Services, Tilley said, “is sort of the last leg on the process.” If a project is approved, it may come to Tilley for implementation, “but we’re not the ones who make the decision that, yes, you can have a screen there or, yes, you can have a water fountain.”
Faculty and staff, Tilley said, often don’t understand the process, and “maybe some of them don’t want to go through the process. That might be the most difficult for us because we want to get out there and help them and make everything go and flow, but some things are beyond your control.”
However, if it’s a leaky pipe or a hole in the drywall, Building Services is there for you. Sure, it’s hectic. It’s a big campus, and it’s almost 50 years old. What his team does may fly under the radar, Tilley said, “but I think we’re appreciated. You just try to keep everything up and going and try not to intrude on schedules and things like that. But I would definitely say everyone here feels their work is appreciated.”
They certainly have at least one fan. “We’re doing considerable renovations on campus in addition to regular facilities, grounds and maintenance work,” Goben said. “John Tilley and several others on our team are always on top of things and tremendously responsive to keep TCC Northeast Campus an outstanding learning environment.”