U workers plan break projects

Holiday downtime lets University departments catch up and prepare for spring semester.

by Tricia Michel

Once students finish finals next week, most will leave campus for a month of relaxation or part-time jobs.

But many University departments face bigger workloads over winter break.

University Bookstores director Bob Crabb said he will hire more than 100 new employees to work at the Coffman bookstore during the holiday season.

Crabb said the bookstore gets a lot of Internet textbook orders at the end of the semester, which is why it hires extra employees to help with inventory.

“We’re getting ready for the spring textbook season,” he said.

Books will also keep library employees busy.

“Thousands are returned at the end of the semester,” said Kenneth Page, a reference desk assistant at Wilson Library, where workers will spend time over winter break shelving books.

The library will also upgrade the MNCAT system over break, Page said. New books will not be updated on the system for a two-week period, though the system will still be accessible.

“We have to wait for break to do upgrades. If we did it right now, there would be a huge uproar,” Page said.

University electrician foreman Doug Vickers said electricians will work a big project in Walter Library over break. He said that because of recent water damage, the library has been functioning without surge protectors.

The University electric crew usually hires additional part-time employees during all University breaks because it is easier to get work done when students are on break and the classrooms are unoccupied, Vickers said.

“When we work, we occupy space and make a lot of noise,” Vickers said.

With recent budget cuts, many Facilities Management workers look forward to the break because it means more work, pipe cover foreman Mark Neuman said.