Resolving issues: A closer look at work orders


Greg Markus and Ed Baine work together to fix the fire door of the Student Engagement office on Friday, Sept. 23, 2015. Markus said the doors were sagging due to a defective hinge that needed to be replaced. 

DREW CARROLL Managing Editor

Any students that have lived in one of the many residence halls on campus may be familiar with the process of submitting work orders.

Bryan Bisson, the residential life building operations manager, said students can submit work orders by signing into MyState and clicking on the Housing tab and continuing to the Work Orders link. There they will find a form to fill out that includes items such as the students’ contact information, the building where the issue is located, the room number and additional information about what the issue is. According to Bisson, the system then generates a notice that comes to the residential life inbox. From there it is distributed to someone who can respond to the work order.

Bisson said that his staff is made up of eight full-time maintenance personnel and 20 full-time custodians. These are the people that respond to work orders submitted from the residential buildings. If Bisson’s staff cannot handle the issue, they call for the help from Jim Weiss’s staff. Weiss is the Facilities and Services director of campus maintenance. Weiss is responsible for a staff of carpenters, electricians, plumbers, welders, general services, grounds and horticultural personnel. According to Weiss, there are a total of 44 members of his staff. 

“When his [Bisson’s] staff is beyond their capabilities, they’ll call into Facilities and Services. We do the locksmithing for them, we do the electrical work and the plumbing,” Weiss said.    

The average response time to different types of issues varies depending on the issue. Some things that the university calls life safety issues are responded to immediately regardless of the situation according to Dawn Syhre, the operations coordinator at the Facilities and Services customer service center.

“I know anything that is considered a life safety issue; if there’s water pouring out of a pipe, if obviously if there’s a fire, if the power is out, if a light switch is not working… we respond to right away, regardless,” Syhre said.

Simple issues like replacing something that the maintenance staff keeps on-hand usually doesn’t take that long to resolve either according to Bisson. Other, more complicated issues may require parts to be ordered or engineering to be done before the issue can be resolved.

One of the more complicated issues that Bisson’s staff is currently dealing with is a hole in the ceiling of one of the buildings in Jackrabbit Village. Bisson said that there is a membranous layer underneath the tiling in the showers and that membrane failed to do its job of keeping water from the shower from seeping down to the mortar bed underneath the membrane. This issue is complicated because the building is past warranty and the university cannot call upon the construction company that installed the showers in the building to fix the issue. Since the building is past warranty, Bisson’s staff has to determine the best plan of action to take to fix the issue and then get approval from the South Dakota Board of Regents and the South Dakota legislature to hire a new company to fix the issue in the bathroom. According to Bisson, dealing with issues that arise after the warranty expires is more common than people might think.

If work orders aren’t resolved, some students submit another work order for the same issue. Some people may think  this might cause some type of backlog for Bisson’s staff that would cause the resolution of the issue to take longer than it normally would. According to Bisson, residential life does not have a way to track the effects of backlogged work orders. In fact, Bisson would prefer multiple work orders be submitted for a single issue.

“We get a lot of issues that nobody reports. We would rather have multiple work orders on one issue than not know about it,” Bisson said.

If students have questions about work orders, they are welcome to call residential life or contact their residence hall director.