What’s your favorite summer pastime? Swimming? Boating? Camping? For Myreon Cobb, a constant warm-weather activity is juggling. As director of UF’s physical plant, Cobb juggles projects, equipment and budgets. It may be a pastime, but it’s far from relaxing!
“Did you know the University owns 150 houses?” asked Cobb? “Roughly, one-third is used for student housing, one-third for offices and the remaining third for rentals.”
The houses, all older structures, need maintenance and renovation and summer is the best time to complete most projects. But the houses are just the “tip of the summer iceberg.”
So far, the summer of 2014 has included major structural projects at Deming, Old Main, Shafer Library and Winebrenner Theological Seminary. HVAC is a big budget item with Croy getting new air handlers at a cost of $26,000. Just the controls purchased for the system in the AMU ran $32,000-plus.
“Croy had one of those old, black rubber roofs,” Cobb added. “We replaced it with a new, Dura-Last roof which should be good for 25 or 30 years.”
Roofs were also replaced on Sections A and C of the University Townhouses, five residential houses and the English Office house at 201 Howard Street. Repairs were done on the roof at the Village as well.
Odds and Ends
Some miscellaneous, but significant projects include window replacement at Myers, a complete renovation of the lunging barn at The James C. Child, Jr. Equestrian Complex and drainage work at the pond.
“Of course, we also have the usual work for Student Services. . . exterior painting at The Haven and new carpet for Fox and Bare Halls,” said Cobb.
In addition to overseeing projects, Cobb replaces equipment on a cyclical basis. This year, he’ll replace three mowers and has purchased two trucks with snow blades.
What’s the biggest item in the “juggling” mix?
“The budget,” Cobb stated. “Some years you get more than others. You have to prioritize and that can get tough.”
Cobb also laughed that delays in starting times don’t change completion deadlines for his department.
“We were scrambling to renovate 401 Trenton Avenue for classes,” he added. “We still had
an August 1 completion date, even though our start date was moved back by weeks.”
The Grass is Greener
Of course, you can’t have a conversation with the director of physical plant without asking the question that’s on everyone’s lips: What about the lawn and how long will the sprinklers be running?
Cobb explained that the sod was put down in two phases with a third phase of seeding, including an application of fertilizer and “over-seeding.”
“About 70 percent of the lawn required sod and the other 30 percent was seeded,” he explained. “In a lot of areas we couldn’t seed because the entire top layer of soil needed to be dug up due to contamination from the herbicide.”
Because the sod roots need to anchor, heavy watering will continue at least through August.
“We’ve gotten the grass back,” he commented. “Now we just need to make sure we take care of it.”