Return to Campus series – Spotlight on Estates

As Kent prepares for a phased return to campus, many of our colleagues are busy ensuring a safe return for us all. We’ve been talking to staff across the Estates department to find out what they’re doing as part of a special ‘Return to Campus’ series.

In our first feature, we hear from Gary Richardson, Maintenance Stores Supervisor about the work of the Estates Maintenance Stores team and Sarah Cooke, Head of Customer Services and Engagement, on the Design & Print Centre’s contribution.

Gary Richardson: ‘The Estates Maintenance Stores team have been operating remotely over the lockdown period, researching, and investigating products relating to both customer enquiries and order requests. We have also been kept busy maintaining stock levels for essential maintenance requirements on both the Canterbury and Medway campuses.

We have procured a diverse spectrum of products from hand-sanitising gel and foot-operated dispensers, pumps, electrical components, and boilers, to Perspex sheets enabling our talented maintenance teams to manufacture bespoke screens. This will enable staff, students and visitors to return to campus and enjoy the safest possible environment.

As a team, we’ve worked hard to offer choice and obtain the best possible value for the University.’

Sarah Cooke: ‘We first started to look at the social distancing signage requirements in early May, and it was evident we would need to move quickly to produce everything needed to make the University’s campuses compliant with the government’s guidelines.

‘Thankfully, we have our own in-house Design & Print Centre, which has proved invaluable in turning around the signage in this time-frame. Lesley Farr, Graphic Design Supervisor, has created a whole suite of social distancing signage designs, which accommodate the needs of each school and department. The turnaround time from request to design is far quicker and cheaper than it would have been to outsource this to an external company, and the signs are aligned with the Kent brand and colour palette.

‘Once the designs are agreed, Ian White, Production Supervisor, reviews the orders. Through Ian’s contacts and knowledge, he was able to swiftly secure the print materials needed at competitive rates and there has not been any delay in production. The three Print Technicians; Hannah Bentley, Melanie Smith and Craig Richards have been working hard on campus to print all the floor vinyl’s and posters required, while maintaining social distancing and enhanced hygiene procedures.

‘I have been managing the Design & Print Centre for just under a year now and I am so impressed with this team and how well they work together.’

Find out more about the services the Estates department provide.

In our next Return to Campus feature, we’ll look at the work of the Facilities Management team.