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Elon leaders praise Physical Plant at College Coffee

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert and Student Government Association President Joe Incorvia offered gratitude Tuesday to dozens of employees who worked around the clock this year to keep the university running at the height of winter storms.

How bad was the weather that disrupted campus operations this winter? Consider the following:

  • Staff members from the Elon University Physical Plant team logged 3,000 hours of extra work to clean up the campus on multiple occasions.
  • From a March ice storm alone, workers collected 4,000 cubic yards of debris, enough to fill 133 large dumpsters.
  • Workers spread 21 tons of deicer on sidewalks throughout campus between January and March.

They worked long hours when their own families were affected by the weather, helping to preserve the essential functions of a university with 6,300 students and more than 1,200 full-time employees by shoveling sidewalks, plowing parking lots and clearing dangerous tree limbs from overhead.

And at College Coffee on May 6, 2014, Elon University President Leo M. Lambert and Student Government Association President Joe Incorvia praised those unwavering efforts.

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert delivered his May 6 remarks to Physical Plant workers in front of a campus building undergoing repairs from a tree that toppled into it during a March ice storm.

“We have gathered here this morning our wonderful, wonderful Physical Plant staff,” Lambert told hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered at Phi Beta Kappa Plaza. “They did yeoman's work keeping us safe and the university running during this difficult winter.”

Lambert noted that 91 percent of Physical Plant staff members also have made contributions to the university over the past year to enrich the educational experiences of the same students protected and aided by their work, which Lambert said "speaks to the spirit of this community."

"This is a very special and wonderful group of people," he said.

The university closed in the wake of two storm systems that dumped snow and ice across central North Carolina. In early March, one storm disrupted operations for three days, and lengthy power outages away from campus lead to the temporary closure of some residence halls.

The same storm toppled a giant oak tree into the Academic Village’s Belk Pavilion, where ongoing repairs served as a backdrop to Lambert and Incorvia’s remarks.

“They work day in and day out so that we can enjoy campus and so we can enjoy the experiences we all have here,” said Incorvia, describing workers who "rise above expectations and go beyond their call of duty on a daily basis" to keep the campus beautiful and functional. “Show them that we appreciate what they do for us every single day. They are truly the unsung heroes of our campus and without them, Elon would not be the place we call home and would not be the place we have grown accustomed to.”

Michael Laplaca, assistant sports turf manager for Elon University, spoke on behalf of his Physical Plant colleagues during a special recognition program at the university's May 6 College Coffee.

Dozens of Physical Plant workers, many wearing monogrammed maroon knit shirts, attended the special recognition.

Elon alumnus Michael Laplaca, the assistant sports turf manager for the university, responded for his colleagues following the presidents’ remarks and the unfurling of a “thank you” banner containing hundreds of student signatures.

“On behalf of the entire Physical Plant, we would just like to say thank you for this fantastic recognition,” Laplaca said, “and long live Elon!”



Eric Townsend,
5/6/2014 2:40 PM