Custodian numbers shrinking at growing UPJ

Dylan Johnson, News Editor

Some custodians and maintenance workers claim that Pitt-Johnstown’s custodial staff is dwindling.

Academic building custodian Walter Custer said that no new custodians have been hired in 27 years.  Although temporary workers are hired for a short time, custodians claim they aren’t enough to fill the gap in their staff.

Custer said that 20 new buildings have been built in the past 27 years, including the Wellness Center and the Living/Learning Center, but no new full-time custodians were hired to clean them.

In addition, Biddle Hall was renovated to include more classrooms, but it only has one custodian to clean them all, while Krebs Hall has two custodians.

Custer said that he thinks budget cuts are the main reason for the staffing problems and said administrators are probably trying to scrounge money for various building projects.

He said that five additional custodians should be hired to clean the academic buildings alone.

He also said that the Student Union has one custodian to clean up after the roughly 3,000 people who use it, but Owen Library has two custodians to clean up after about 300 people.

Custer also said he thinks custodians are mismanaged.  He said some of the custodial equipment has been broken for two or three months, but there is no one to fix it.

Gloria Lehman, another custodian, said that it has been six or seven years since any custodians have been hired.

She also said that the staff was reduced first in Blackington Hall, then Biddle Hall and the Student Union.

“We definitely need more workers, said Lehman.  “Any staff member will tell you that.”

When an issue of dorm bathroom mold was brought up at an Oct. 17 Student Government Association meeting, Jonathan Wescott, vice president for Student Affairs, said that mold was found in UPJ dorm bathrooms, but it is harmless and usually present in unproperly cleaned bathrooms.

And after administrators ended monthly residence hall bathroom cleanings, some students may not be properly cleaning their bathrooms.

Physical Plant Director Robert Blaschak declined to comment.