After a number of system failures in the laundry facility at Juniper-Poplar Hall (JP), it was temporarily closed to allow for upgrades in the wiring system that connects the laundry machines with the Bull Bucks readers.
The facility reopened Feb. 22 after being closed for three days.
With the system upgrade, all the wiring in the infrastructure that connects the Bull Bucks readers with the laundry machines was replaced. According to Andrew Johnson, director of operations and outreach for Housing and Residential Education (HRE), the upgrade will make the laundry system more stable for the next five to 10 years.
“We try to do these types of upgrades in May or before students move in for summer B where it would not affect students,” Johnson said. “This one just became a critical issue where it wasn't communicating effectively and efficiently so we just needed to take it offline for a couple of days.”
The wiring system in JP had not been upgraded since the hall opened in 2009.
On Feb. 15, due to an error in the system, the machines were set to free without charge. Students were able to wash their clothes for free until the facility was closed for repairs.
“Our department was not impacted by this error in the system,” Johnson said. “We have such good relationships with our laundry vendors that they understand that this happens. If anything, it creates a loss for them and from a customer service perspective, they want to make sure our students are taken care of as well.”
According to Johnson, the total cost for the upgrade was $1,223, which will be covered by CSC Network, USF’s current vendor for all laundry activities around campus.
Housing and Residential Education has a five-year contract with CSC Network that includes up to a five-year renewal. According to Johnson, the machines are owned by the vendor but are used by USF under its contract.
On Feb. 19, an email was sent from Housing and Residential Education notifying students of the temporary closure.
While the laundry room at JP was closed, students were offered access to the facility at Magnolia H, where students needed to swipe their cards at the building’s entrance to be granted access.
The Magnolia laundry facility is smaller, with 10 washers and 14 dryers, compared to 30 washers and 32 dryers at JP.
Johnson said the upgrade in the wiring system was USF system-wide and began when The Village opened in 2017.
“Students won't see any difference, it's just a software upgrade,” Johnson said. “It still operates on the same software but we just have an older model that we've been slowly phasing out to upgrade to the same type of Bull Bucks readers across the USF system.”
Johnson said Housing’s facilities team cleans the laundry facilities daily as well as works with the CSC Network to try to ensure timely repairs of broken machines and regular preventive maintenance.
“Across our residence halls, anything can go wrong at any time so we do our best to make sure that when that does happen, we try to inform students of what the issue is, our plan to solve it and our final timeline,” Johnson said.