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Facilities management gains international recognition

June 26, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is being recognized at an international conference in July for its use of technology to track its utilities, trees and other facility assets.

WMU's Department of Facility Management will receive the 2009 Award for Excellence, Effective and Innovative Practices by the APPA July 9 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The $4,000 award "recognizes programs and processes that enhance service delivery, lower costs, increase productivity, improve customer service, generate revenue, or otherwise benefit the educational institution," according to the organization.

WMU Geographic Information System

Specifically, WMU is being recognized for its Geographic Information System, a digital mapping initiative that includes roads, sidewalks, parking lots and buildings but also has the ability to enhance operations for the Physical Plant and Landscape Services when used to:

  • Modify and update WMU's snow removal plan
  • Map the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility routes on campus as well as accessible parking and ADA-accessible entrances to buildings
  • Map the location of more than 4,000 campus trees and note their species and diameter
  • Record the position and characteristics of storm water, sanitary sewer, water, steam, gas, condensate and electrical systems

"WMU Department of Facilities Management has been ahead of the curve by using GIS technology for our facility stewardship responsibilities," says Peter Strazdas, WMU associate vice president of Facilities Management.

"We leveraged our abilities to excel with this new technology by using engineering and geography students. We get the data entered and the students get a real-life experience with state-of-the-art technology. Taxpayers, students and parents want to know how efficient our University is spending their dollars. This is another example of utilizing technology and students to lower our operating costs and be more responsive to our customers."

Winning entries in this year's round of awards will receive special recognition on both APPA's Web site and in APPA's Facilities Manager magazine.


APPA was founded in Chicago in 1914 by representatives from 14 Midwest institutions. During the past 35 years, membership has grown to 5,200 individuals in more than 1,500 learning institutions throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.


More information about WMU's Facilities Management GIS initiative is available at gis.pp.wmich.edu.

For more information, contact Peter Strazdas at peter.strazdas@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8584.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8428, deanne.molonari@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400