Sept. 23, 2010

Iowa State will reprise partial shutdown over semester break

by Diana Pounds

For the second year, Iowa State will be partially closed for an 11-day stretch during semester break.

Last year's successful semester shutdown and continuing budget challenges prompted university leaders to support a similar schedule this year, vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said in a recent letter to administrators.

Encouraged, but not mandatory

The partial closing is scheduled for Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. The period includes three university holidays (Dec. 23, 24 and 31), four weekend days, and four work days (Dec. 27-30).

"This isn't a mandatory closing," Madden said. "Units involved in critical services, maintenance and research programs will remain in operation. And there may be partial staffing in some units. Supervisors must determine their operating schedules in consultation with their deans or vice presidents."

However, Madden added, university officials are encouraging units and employees to take advantage of the partial closing. He anticipates most Iowa State facilities will be closed and locked during the 11-day period, just as they are during holidays or weekends.

Employees who opt to take the 11-day respite from work must take paid or unpaid leave for the four work days during that period.

Shutdown benefits

Madden said a partial shutdown offers several benefits:

  • Many employees like to take leave over winter break and it's a good time for them to do so, because classes are not in session and campus activity slows down.
  • The university saves energy through reduced demands for electricity and steam (heat). Estimated savings are $4,800 per day.

Leave a number

Units that shut down over the extended break will need to leave emergency contact numbers on websites and voicemail, turn down thermostats, turn off equipment and designate someone to periodically check work spaces for plumbing, heating or cooling problems.

Officials will provide a checklist for units that will be shutting down over break.