The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

John Jenkins: giving Guilford new energy

Few have what it takes to juggle the job John Jenkins performs with enthusiasm and expertise. Jenkins works with every department on campus in some form, overseeing maintenance, building services, grounds and landscaping, the physical education center, and public safety. Often working 11–12 hour days, Jenkins still manages to be a refreshing and vibrant force preparing Guilford College for the future, while preserving the school’s history.

Jenkins’ official title is associate chief financial officer for facilities. However, no title can capture all the different aspects of his job. He is responsible for everything from replacing light bulbs to the work that is being done on New Garden hall.

With phones ringing and his walky-talky buzzing, Jenkins is relaxed and smiling. He walks with a limp that is a result of a washing machine flooding. He and his wife had just moved and had boxes of belongings that were being threatened by the malfunctioning machine. He ran to stop the water, slipped, and twisted his tendon. Now healing, Jenkins takes his time walking, ices his leg daily, and shows no anger over the incident.
Jenkins moved here in July and said he was “impressed by the students and their friendliness. It is a very friendly, very welcoming family here at Guilford.”
Associate Dean of Student Life for Community Activities Dawn Watkins, thinks “John does an incredibly good job of balancing the total needs of the community and the needs of his particular department. I’ve seen him time and time again negotiate some of the difficulties that exist while trying to also do some upgrades that have to happen.”

The school’s current energy system, which is deteriorating, inefficient, and costs the school over a million dollars a year, relies on scattered energy sources to provide heating and air conditioning. Jenkins is working on an ambitious project to connect most of the buildings on campus to one energy center that will have one large boiler, making the system more efficient and environmentally sound.

He is also working to install one big chiller to cool Guilford. Milner hall has approximately 150 air conditioning units that use six to nine amps to run and need to be replaced every two to three years. The chiller will produce the same effect at half the cost and will use less than half the amount of energy.

Joann Toby, residential life director, said, “He’s very interested in student concerns and the resident halls and is working hard to fix the problems that have been created by years of deferred maintenance.”

In an effort to conserve energy, Jenkins follows his “tight envelope” philosophy. This seals the buildings and prevents heat from being lost. On Archdale, he is putting copper metal weather stripping in each window. The windows could be replaced with more modern windows, but Jenkins wants to keep the character of the building.

Similarly, on New Garden, the columns are being restored rather than replaced. “Preserving our heritage means something to me and to the college,” Jenkins said.

Other plans include replacing hot and cold water pipes in Bryan, painting and carpeting in King, replacing concrete walkways with paved walkways, and replacing ceiling and light fixtures in Boren Lounge.

Albert Meyer, a sophomore and work-study student at the physical plant says, “John is constantly trying to find a better way of doing things. Frequently John stops by the front desk for a light joke so as not to make the day too heavy for himself and all those he works with.”

Coming to Guilford and trying to correct our inefficient energy system is no easy endeavor. Add to that all the other requirements of John Jenkins’ job and it becomes obvious how fortunate Guilford is to have him as part of the community.

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