Team Spotlight: Facilities Operations & Maintenance


Northwestern University is comprised of a remarkable 222 buildings spanning both the Chicago and Evanston campuses. Facilities Operations and Maintenance (O&M) oversees and services both campuses throughout the year with support teams working around the clock, seven days a week. The O&M crew, mainly behind the scenes, delivers well-orchestrated service with skilled tradespeople working to support Northwestern’s priorities, mission, and research efforts.

The scope of the team’s work isn’t commonly known, however. O&M is made up of groundskeepers, HVAC specialists, engineers, electricians, plumbers, custodians, painters, carpenters, and locksmiths. With a university footprint of over 16 million square feet, many maintenance issues also require project management, preventative maintenance plans, and specialists. For example, did you know, Northwestern Facilities maintains 241 elevators across Chicago and Evanston?
Facilities Operations & Maintenance Services:
  • Evanston campus utilities including 63.6 miles of pipe
    • 5 miles of steam piping + 6.7 miles of forced condensate return
    • 6 miles of hot water distribution piping
    • 6 miles of chilled water piping
    • 7 miles of potable water distribution piping
    • 10 miles of sanitary sewer + 12.5 miles of storm sewer piping
  • Electrical distribution totaling 28.2 miles
  • Paved areas including streets, lots and sidewalks 3 million square feet

In a plan to reshape and lead University support, Northwestern Facilities will implement a new program to improve its quality of service and efficiency. The program, called Zone Maintenance, is a new way to address building issues with zone-based service hubs. The upcoming Zone Maintenance changes will begin internally with Facilities staff assignments in April 2018 and will expand with a phased approach through 2019/20. Facilities will share pertinent information to ensure all campus clients are well-informed throughout the rollout.

For more information about Facilities Operations & Maintenance please contact Sr. Director, Kevin Harris, at or 847-467-6654.