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What we do

The Maintenance Department is made up of seven diverse skilled trade areas: electrical, plumbing, HVAC, carpentry, grounds care, general maintenance and welding, and painting. The department is staffed with sixteen hourly employees, many of whom hold Journeyman or certified status in their individual crafts.

Each trade department provides service to the Earlham College campus through a computerized work order request system submitted by the community and processed by the Department of Facilities. The requests are then prioritized and assigned by trade who complete them in an efficient and timely manner.

Photo of our HVAC team

Our services

As a part of our daily operations, we:

  • Provide day-to-day supervision, planning, organization and scheduling of work for the Facilities trades: HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), electricians, carpenters, plumbing, painting, general maintenance and grounds.
  • Work with sub-contractors on repairs, installation, small construction projects, grounds enhancement and maintenance projects.
  • Assist with state required facility-related inspections.
  • Assist with after-hours and weekend facility-related emergency calls.
  • Serve as systems administrator for the TMA work order database program.

The electrical shop is responsible for the maintenance and installations of all College-owned secondary electrical systems, various security and alarm support systems. The shop performs tasks on all major electrical secondary switchgear and motor control centers, numerous emergency backup generators and emergency battery back-up units.

The electrical shop also:

  • Performs preventative maintenance and routine maintenance on all:
    • electric motors,
    • lighting systems,
    • control circuits and
    • transformers.
  • Responds to service calls.
  • Provides troubleshooting of electrical issues.
  • Renovates and modifies existing electrical systems.

The electrical shop is a key player in assisting departments in preparing for major campus functions such as commencement, Homecoming, New Student Orientation and special events.

The plumbing shop supplies plumbing to all College-owned buildings as well as performing preventive maintenance to all plumbing related equipment.

Responsible areas include: maintaining drains, sewage ejector pumps, toilet, all supply and return water lines, fixtures, lab fixtures, domestic water heaters and softeners.


The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) shop performs preventative maintenance on all equipment related to the operation and functions of the centralized heating system, which is comprised of two 800-horsepower boilers and the Chilled Loop Line along with all stand-alone dedicated units.

The shop decommissions old refrigeration equipment and recovers the coolant by using state-of-the-art software for maintaining EPA-mandated tracking records for various gases.

The heating mechanics maintain forced air heating equipment and furnaces in various campus buildings and residences.

The carpentry shop provides various carpentry-related tasks, including custom fabrication of cabinetry, desks and countertops, and installation of floor tile, ceiling tile, doors, drywall and windows. The shop hangs pictures, installs plaques, and hangs artwork and photos that are displayed in campus buildings.

The shop also maintains exterior structures such as roofs, gutters, and minor concrete repair along with exterior windows, doors and siding.

This department receives and logs packages from UPS, FedEx, US Postal Service, DHL and other shipping companies. Once they have been received, they are taken to a designated location in each building or complex to be picked up by the building.

This department also handles furniture moves and covers the front office when needed.

The grounds department is responsible for maintaining the campus grounds in excellent condition at all times. This shop oversees and handles all campus refuse collection and embraces environmental sustainability by supporting campus recycling efforts through our recycling program.

The shop is responsible for all snow removal on campus roads and parking lots and for keeping all sidewalks on campus free from snow and ice.

The grounds crew also cleans up leaves on campus, changes out all trash bags in the trash receptacles and picks up litter on the exterior areas of campus.

This department also cleans out all debris removed from the Earlham College stormwater inlets in accordance with the MS4 program.



As a part of the grounds department, we have a landscape designer who designs and oversees the installation of all new and existing landscape on campus. This person designs all areas with sustainability in mind. They oversee:

  • Design and installation of landscaping, including construction projects for the campus.
  • Maintain the tree inventory, including planning and replacing the trees.
  • Oversee the spring and fall bulbs and annuals.


Turf maintenance

The grounds crew mows and maintains lawn care for over 160 acres.

There is a large green and white dumpster located adjacent to the grounds barn for recycling items (cardboard, paper, cans and glass).  There are also individual recycling containers located around the campus grounds that are picked up by students. Inside campus buildings you will find blue containers for recycling items that are collected by housekeeping.

The Earlham College recycling program is committed to minimizing the generation of solid waste and to a long-term goal of generating zero waste to landfill. We support recycling of glass, plastics #1 and #2, aluminum cans, steel cans, office paper, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, lead and acid batteries, scrap metal, phone books, old cell phones and ink cartridges, and old electronics and computers.

The department serves as an assistant to the plumbing, receiving, grounds and carpenter areas when needed and is skilled in all levels of general maintenance and grounds. This area also conducts welding when needed.

The paint shop is dedicated to maintaining the physical environment of the interior and exterior of all campus buildings. This includes maintenance painting and wall-covering repair and installation in classrooms, corridors, laboratories, offices, restrooms, stairwells and building exteriors.

This shop provides consulting services to other departments on coatings application, material selection, specifications, inspections and project planning.

The paint shop works closely with Public Safety to promptly remove graffiti on campus buildings and structures.

If you have to make a painting request or want to know more information, please view our painting guidelines below.


Painting guidelines

Request and work process

All painting requests must be submitted, with a valid budget account number, to the Facilities Department office for approval and scheduling.

No department may use an outside contractor or use College employees or students to paint building interior or exteriors, or exterior features or areas, however small those areas may be.

The requesting department is responsible to move all furniture and wall hangings that are in the area to be painted. Facilities Department paint crews will be responsible for any repairs or preparation of walls and areas to be painted.

The requesting department is responsible for addressing all complaints of odors and/or dust generated by this painting activity. Please remember that many individuals can be sensitive to odors generated by these activities.

Facilities Department paint crews will be responsible for ordering and maintaining all paint supplies; brushes, rollers, rags, drop cloths, and arranging for any equipment necessary to complete the work.


Regulatory compliance and other requirements for painting

It is the responsibility of the Earlham College Facilities Department to ensure that all regulations and requirements are met.

The college’s paint crew has been trained in all federal, state and local regulatory requirements, and is prepared to complete painting projects in campus facilities.

Latex paint is the only paint type authorized for use in maintenance and repairs, renovations or new construction on campus. Oil based paints require specialized training and proper hazardous waste management practices.

Unused paint must be stored in properly labeled, closed containers.

All waste paint and paint-contaminated materials (brushes, rollers, rags, drop cloths, etc.) be collected in a closed or sealed container, with a label describing the contents.

The City of Richmond Indiana and Earlham College are in partnership as MS4 entities. This partnership and coordination of all city and EC activities are cost-effective and benefits both Richmond and Earlham College. The college located all stormwater in-lets, designed a map indicator of all stormwater in-lets, and have marked all in-lets with a deca reading “No Dumping-Drains to River”. Earlham keeps records of all road and sidewalk treatment (such as ice melt, salt & sand), debris from in-lets, parking lots, and campus streets, and turf applications (such as fertilizer and herbicide). This is a method that Earlham uses to maintain this idea of sustainability and comply with the City of Richmond Indiana.

All Earlham College owned rental properties are now being managed by Renaissance Property Management (RPM). If you are interested in renting close to campus please contact them at 765-966-4980 for all information regarding availability.

The normal start-up date for campus building cooling systems is April 15th. The normal shut down date for these cooling systems is the week after Homecoming in October. This includes the removal of window A/C units around campus. All of this is partially determined by seasonal weather.


Cooling system coverage

Buildings on the main “chilled water loop” for air conditioning:

  • Athletics & Wellness Center
  • Tyler
  • Dennis
  • Noyes
  • Stanley
  • Goddard Auditorium
  • Lilly Library
  • Runyan Center
  • Earlham Hall (including dining hall)

Buildings or parts thereof with independent, building-wide air conditioning systems:

  • Landrum Bolling Center
  • Olvey-Andis
  • Barrett
  • Warren/Wilson/Mills
  • Admissions South
  • Service Building
  • Carpenter 1st floor administrative suite

Buildings with no central air conditioning, except for window units:

  • Carpenter (except for Goddard Auditorium and administrative suite)
  • Hoerner
  • Bundy
  • Stout Meetinghouse
  • campus houses

Computer network server rooms have their own, independent cooling systems, run 24/7/365, and are not included in the spring and fall cooling/heating transitions.


Why we do what we do

The fall and spring switch-overs require a lot of skilled, thoughtful labor, and so are not something that can be done one week, and then undone the next if the weather changes.

Fall cooling system shut-down is normally scheduled to happen right after Homecoming, depending on consistent night time temperatures below 40 degrees F. The cooling towers that provide cooling capacity for the main system contain water, and must be drained before freezing weather in the fall and then filled after the last hard freeze in the spring.  If the towers were filled with water during an extended, hard freeze, the resulting split pipes and other damage would be very expensive($100,000+) to fix, and if it happened in the spring, would mean uncooled major buildings well into May or even June.  So, we are very cautious about both the fall draining and the spring filling.

The main system saves many tens of thousands of dollars per year in annual utility costs (my rough estimate), at the price of reduced flexibility during the fall and spring transitions.

The heating and cooling systems for the Warren / Wilson / Mills dormitories were designed in such a way that they can either provide heat or cooling (but not both simultaneously) and require a fair amount of skilled labor to switch back and forth.   Other buildings on campus with cooling capacity have the ability to run both heating and cooling without Facilities intervention, so their occupants are not at the mercy of a late spring cold snap.

With typically volatile Midwestern fall and spring weather, all of the above combine to guarantee some number of unhappy building occupants during these transition seasons.  I am convinced that the skill and dedication applied every day by our experienced Facilities staff keep this dissatisfaction to a minimum, without exception.

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Our team includes electricians, plumbers, carpenters, painters, grounds workers and more—all working together to maintain a safe, comfortable and beautiful campus for our community.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.