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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

City facilities get clean, put barriers in place as staff prepare to return

City facilities get clean, put barriers in place as staff prepare to return

It has been the best of times and the worst of times. Even through a global pandemic, city staff have had to keep working, from the Police and Fire Departments to General Services staff, including Facilities Maintenance Division employees. In mid-March when city facilities closed, their work became much more intense and difficult.

“When we had to close some city facilities, our initial plans were to tackle repairs and the backlog of work we needed to do,” said Facilities Manager Brian Grucelski.

However, as they quickly realized that the world had changed into a “new normal,” their skills were put to use in new ways. They installed facility enhancements that were either touchless or promoted sanitary interactions. They put in a document drop box and sneeze guards at the Municipal Court and have changed air filters more frequently in occupied buildings. They have or will be making additional guest interaction Plexiglas guards for libraries, recreation centers and other city facilities.

“We have adjusted the HVAC at all city facilities to maximize the amount of fresh, outside air, brought into facilities 24 hours a day,” said Grucelski. “We have been closely following and changing our maintenance operations to be in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”

Buildings are not the only concern in the city. The Police Department needed to disinfect their vehicles between shifts and when any concerns arose. The department set up protocols and processes for cleaning police cruisers based on recommendations from professional disinfection companies. To help with this task, three Parks, Recreation and Libraries employees stepped up: Assistant Recreation Facilities Supervisors Shane Haack and Andrew Minturn and Guest Relations Clerk Sarah Gladstone.

“We use an ammonium chloride solution and fog every cruiser, every day,” said Haack. “We use a portable generator to power a fogger on a cart. I go down the line of parked cruisers, spray the fog in the car and then keep it closed for 15 minutes to do its thing.”

As the city gets closer to reopening facilities, city management has worked closely with Facilities Maintenance staff to confirm that they have enough cleaning supplies not only for facility surfaces, but for employees, too. Getting enough of those supplies to keep up a cleaning regiment has been difficult, but crews have been successful finding supplies to keep up with reopening plans.

They acquired hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer through multiple sources, including Mad Rabbit Distillery, based in the city. They then repackaged the sanitizer into smaller, usable quantities, such as half gallon bottles or four-ounce containers.   

Disinfectant has also been in high demand. 

“We dilute five gallon containers of concentrated disinfectant into 125 gallons of useable disinfectant,” said Grucelski. “We then distribute it into 16 or 24 ounce spray bottles for use in city facilities.” 

“This amazing work could not have been done without the incredible collaboration across many departments and I appreciate everybody’s efforts,” said Grucelski.

“The bottom line is we are focused on the health and safety of city employees and the public,” said Grucelski. “When the city decides to reopen city facilities, we want everything to be in place to protect everybody.”

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