Sept. 29, 2011

Partial shutdown approved again over semester break

Iowa State will be partially closed for an 11-day stretch during semester break again this winter. The Dec. 23-Jan. 2 period includes three university holidays (Dec. 23, 26 and Jan. 2), four weekend days and four work days (Dec. 27-30). Employees who don't work Dec. 27-30 would be required to take paid or unpaid leave for those days.

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden noted that this is not a mandatory closing. And it is not intended to limit units' decision to operate.

"Units involved in critical services, maintenance and research programs will remain in operation," he said. "And there may be partial staffing in some units. Supervisors should set their operating schedules in consultation with their deans or vice presidents."

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

Shutdown benefits

Madden said the university's two previous partial shutdowns were successful at delivering 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 contact info

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.

"We encourage units to work out partial closing plans for the semester break, communicate them to staff and post them on their websites as soon as possible so that students, customers and staff members can make their personal plans," Madden said.