LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – The New Mexico State University’s Office of Facilities and Services has been hard at work cleaning and disinfecting every space inside and outside the NMSU campus.
The group consists of 120 people and they’ve been working to ensure the campus is safe when students and staff return to the campus.
“With the COVID-19 outbreak, our department is responsible for sanitizing and disinfecting all of our spaces here at New Mexico State University,” said Art Lucero, custodial, solid waste and recycling manager for Facilities and Services.
According to NMSU, the campus at Las Cruces has 136 buildings, totaling about 5,000,000 square feet of space. Workers are ensuring every square foot is disinfected and sanitized.
“We’re going through each building, all the classrooms, the computer labs – restrooms, naturally,” Lucero said. “You name it, we’re disinfecting it.”
Facilities and Services crew members have two processes for disinfecting buildings – a manual process in which they apply disinfectant and leave it in place for 10 minutes before wiping it off, and an EMist system that mists electrostatically charged disinfectant onto surfaces.
“So that means when the droplet hits a surface, it actually wraps around it, similar to powder-coating,” Lucero explained.
Throughout the process, the workers are careful to protect their own health by wearing personal protective equipment, practicing social distancing and staggering their schedules to minimize human contact. Six different two-person teams rotate through shifts on alternate days and begin the process each day at 4 a.m.
“Every day, I’m hearing about how members of our university community across the entire NMSU system are doing incredible, heroic work,” said NMSU system Chancellor Dan Arvizu.
“These Facilities and Services workers are on the front lines of NMSU’s fight to minimize the impact of this virus on our Aggie community, and I’m truly grateful for their dedication.”
Lucero said each person on his team is aware of the seriousness and importance of this work. “Our saying here in our world is, ‘We clean for health as well as appearance,’” Lucero said. “We care deeply about human health, and what we’re doing here is actually protecting all of us and keeping us safe and healthy.”
For the latest updates on the NMSU system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://nmsu.edu/coronavirus/.