Babson College Wins Award for Return to Campus Facilities Transformation

Facilities worker sanitizing move-in carts

Tricia Lyons arrived at Babson just over a year ago at a critical crossroads for the College and higher education.

On her second day on the job, the associate vice president of facilities management and construction was called for a pressing meeting on the institution’s online transition and campus transformation plan as coronavirus cases surged across the United States.

“It was an interesting way to start a new job,” Lyons said. “The professionalism and all-around caring about the work that we do was so impressive. You learn a lot about people under duress.”

READ MORE: Thankful for a Facilities Team Hard at Work

Looking back on the start of this journey, she feels a sense of pride in the work the entire Facilities team has done to help safeguard the health and well-being of the College community. That work and the entire team now has been recognized for its outstanding response to the pandemic.

Babson College recently received an Excellence in Facilities Transformation Award from the Boston Chapter of the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) for its “Return to Campus” project and its work managing the COVID-19 crisis on its Wellesley campus.

“This effort took huge collaboration across all departments on campus. From a facilities perspective, Lyons had to manage this coordination effort with each building, different departments, and at different levels of the college,” the IFMA recognition reads. “The hard work paid off.”

‘Leading the Way’

Although IFMA singled out Lyons’ role in overseeing the Facilities Management and Planning Department and managing the Return to Campus project, she was not alone in Babson’s success.

“We are very much a team here,” Lyons said. “There are no silos. If someone is in need of help, you could go right across this group.”

Recommendations and guidance have been continuously improved and modified since planning for the campus transformation process began in February 2020. An initial focus on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces was later combined with upgrades and management of HVAC systems. Temporary supplemental custodians also were brought in to help the facilities team reach a high level of disinfection across campus.

“We needed to make sure we focused heavily on our cleaning protocols and managing our HVAC systems, so we could create the safest environment possible,” Lyons said.

“This team very clearly cares about this college community, this campus, the work they do. There’s a lot of pride here.”
Tricia Lyons, associate vice president of facilities management and construction

Carpenters also were tasked with putting up plexiglass partitions across shared campus spaces. Furniture was distanced in classrooms and buildings such as Reynolds Campus Center and Babson Commons at Horn Library, capacity limits were established, and instructional signage and circulation plans were established.

Over the past year, the College has remained in consultation with health experts at the local, state, and federal level.

“This team very clearly cares about this college community, this campus, the work they do. There’s a lot of pride here,” Lyons said. “The level of participation from leadership all the way through to staff is just incredible. Babson in many ways is leading the way.”

The College now is being celebrated for its excellence.

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