University plans to use new app to receive work orders

Physical plant encourages students to file work order requests

Written By Hayley Keys, For The Globe

“Patience – you need to be patient,” Jana Glover, freshman musical theater major, said. “I put in a work order at the beginning of the school year to remove a dresser out of my room. I had to put two in. The first one I put in I guess they didn’t see.”

Glover isn’t alone. Response times by Physical Plant staff to work orders has been a steady source of student complaints this school year, as some residents have reported waiting weeks, or even months, for maintenance orders to be fulfilled.

Some, however, have managed to have reasonable success with the system.

Sadie Luckenbach is a freshman dance major whose roommate put in a work order earlier in the year when they experienced problems with their shower.

“She put it in because our shower faucet was stuck in shower mode,” Luckenbach said. “They got back to us really quickly, I think they came the day after. So that was nice”

Currently, work order requests that students make online or through a phone call are sent directly to Physical Plant Technicians via their mobile devices.

“Technicians are also able to update the work order requests while they are onsite,” Christopher Hill, Vice President of Operations for the Physical Plant Staff, said. “There is no need for multiple phone calls from the coordinator to the technician, thereby saving time and the potential for miscommunication.”

Problems are separated into three levels of service: routine, urgent and emergency.

The university’s website lists the categories that different problems fall into so students can determine the speed of response to their issues.

According to that page, routine problems will be fixed before four business days, urgent problems could be fixed in two days, and emergency problems are to be completed within one hour.

Hill stressed that students are discouraged from attempting to fix problems themselves.

“There is a liability issue and additionally we have the tools/equipment and expertise to fix the problems,” Hill said.

The United Student Government has previously talked about the effectiveness of the work order system after some students expressed frustration with the response time of staff members. 

After listening to these issues, the work order program has decided to create an app that could be available to students and staff during the Fall 2019 semester.

“Currently the app is being tested and if all goes well it can be implemented for the fall term,” Hill said.

The app will allow the student to enter a work order, check the order’s status and receive confirmation when the job is completed.

Both Lukenbach and Glover believe that the app will be an effective way to smooth out any kinks between the workers and students.

“Hopefully it’ll be more convenient to get to us quicker and more efficient for them,” Glover said. “Students can figure it out either way.”

“I think that would honestly be really helpful,” Lukenbach said. “I’d love to just tap on my phone.”

While the app has the potential to make the process less stressful for both students and technicians, Hill mentioned that students still need to be responsible for their work orders.

“We cannot fix a problem if we do not know there is one,” Hill said. “If someone is having problems with the work order system, that needs to be communicated.”