Over the next two to three years, the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Facilities team will be working behind the scenes to ensure the success of the Coombs Building Refurbishment Project.
Peter Geerdink, Facilities Manager, and Dave Rogala, Facilities Officer, are a major part of the Project.
For Dave, who has only been at the College a few months, the best part of the job is working with such a diverse and interesting group of people. Along with Gavin Beard and Han Lew, he supports Peter, the College’s representative on the Project.
“I’ve been a part of the project since I’ve been here,” said Peter.
“Our team is completely about what the College needs. We have been advocating for things such as teaching spaces, meeting spaces and offices. Then, once we get into the project, our focus will turn to quality management – ensuring everything is getting done to a high standard.”
Being an older building, Peter said there are lots of basic access and OH&S issues the Project will address.
“We’ve got a lot of compliance issues in the building. Disability access is basically non-existent, so all of that will be addressed. Emergency systems, emergency lighting – there’s only a few sections of the building that actually have it.”
Beyond that, the Project will bring the Coombs Building in line with contemporary expectations of a university.
“It hasn’t really had any major upgrades, apart from a pocket here and there,” said Peter.
“The Project is going to bring teaching spaces up to current standards and office spaces up to current expectations. So it’s just about trying to get more light in and make it more of a collaborative place to work.”
Minimising the disruption is at the forefront of the whole team’s minds.
“It’s about trying to make it as seamless as we can,” said Dave.
“We know it’s going to be disruptive so we’re working with the builders to try and minimise all of that. That’s where Dave and the other boys really come in,” explained Peter
Any questions and concerns should first be taken to the schools, but the team are more than happy to chat.
“If there’s any major concerns, people can go to their schools first and the schools can then come to us,” said Peter.
“But we’ll be out and about, so over the next few weeks if you see us, just come and say hello. Ask what’s happening with this or that, and we can answer as we go.”
For Peter, who has been at the College for two years, working with a building like Coombs is a part of the appeal of working at the College, despite the massive amount of work that goes into a project like this.
“Working with these old buildings is the best part of the job. Taking this building, which needs a lot of work, and turning it into something that’s going to be quite spectacular when it’s done,” said Peter.