By Larry Kidder | No, this isn't Santa's workshop. The workspace actually belongs to Phillip Loeak, Drayson Center's maintenance technician. Loeak serves as the go-to "fix-it" man that everyone calls when something breaks or stops working. Here he is reassembling a treadmill being relocated from elsewhere on campus.
It may be annoying for some Drayson Center members who have extra time on their hands during the holidays. Parts of the recreational facility are closed for annual maintenance. But temporary annoyance is a small price to pay.
“We take advantage of the low-volume times during the holidays,” says Richard Wysong, MBA, facilities manager. “It’s important for us to keep the facility in top shape, and the holidays are the best time to take care of some of the larger projects.”
The most noticeable closures are the Opsahl Gym, racquetball courts, and aerobics studios. These take place every year and provide Pacific Floor, a well-respected company in Southern California, the opportunity to repair and resurface the wood floors. The company is trusted by a number of universities in the greater Los Angeles area, as well as the LA Clippers for their training facility.
The annual process, which typically takes about three days to complete, as well as two weeks for the floors to cure, includes “screening”—removing the marks from the previous year, repairing any lines or logos that have been damaged, and covering the floors with clear coat.
The indoor walking track has also been closed in order to save would-be walkers and runners from the effects of the fumes and dust.
Every decade or so, the floors are sanded down to the wood, with lines and logos entirely redone as well as boards repaired.
“We host a number of major events in Opsahl Gym,” Wysong explains. “Heavy machinery as well as major spills have damaged the wood flooring in the past, so boards must inevitably be replaced from time to time.”
Facility staff members also take the opportunity to clean the facility from top to bottom, including the electrical and mechanical rooms. Furniture used for events is power-washed until it sparkles. Care is taken to repaint areas or touch up damaged walls.
Phillip Loeak, Drayson Center’s maintenance technician, serves as the traditional “fix-it” guy that everyone calls. In addition, Loeak has received special technical training with the manufacturers of Drayson’s exercise equipment in order to have the knowledge and tools to fix the vast majority of equipment problems.
The weather has played a major role in delaying one major project. Hurricane Harvey delayed the manufacturing of a brand-new heat exchanger for Drayson, produced by a company headquartered in Houston. The new equipment will improve climate consistency and efficiency at Drayson Center. Over the past few months, even the basketball players have complained that Opsahl was “too cold” at times.
Recent major projects resulting in closures have included complete replacement of the pool deck as well as the pool’s heat exchangers, and replacement of huge hot-water boiler tanks with plate-style heat exchangers that provide hot water for the showers as needed.
“Regular investment in and maintenance of Drayson Center keep our facility relevant and current,” suggests Donald Sease, MBA, director. “Our goal is for our members to have no idea of all that goes on to keep this facility going—only that the facility is clean and up to date, and our employees are warm and welcoming.”
Other recent major projects have included renovation of the weight room, replastering of the lap and leisure pools, and renovation of both locker rooms and dry saunas.