By Walker Polivka, Contributing Writer
Walking around campus, you see buildings named after Shaw, Krise, Campbell and several other important West Liberty benefactors. Every building has a unique story. One building can be generally overlooked. Located behind the ASRC, the Myers Maintenance Building is filled with history. Just who was Myers and why did we name a building after him?
Thomas E. Myers was the superintendent of buildings and grounds on West Liberty’s campus from 1958 until 1971. Back when Myers was in charge, West Liberty had a small maintenance and groundskeeping crew. Maintenance would work all over campus to make sure that the campus looked nice and would able to handle the everyday wear and tear of student life.
Clyde Campbell, former President of West Liberty University, said, “When Tom was in charge of maintenance, he didn’t have a large crew. It was mostly a skeleton crew and they had very little equipment. Tom was very dedicated and was able to do a lot with a little.”
The original maintenance building was much smaller and housed the physical plant as well as the sewer building. When West Liberty built the current maintenance building, all the smaller buildings maintenance had were now housed in one, large building.
Today, the Myers Maintenance Building is not in its original location. According to Dr. David Javersak, West Liberty University Dean Emeritus, “The original maintenance building was located between Shaw Hall and what is today Campbell Hall. The new building was built in its current location so that it was out of the way.”
The current maintenance building was opened in January 1975. West Liberty President James L. Chapman presided over the dedication ceremony along with the then-superintendent of maintenance, Richard Ritter.
When the building was first named for Myers, it was highly debated. “Many faculty members debated whether or not we should name the building after Myers. Today, buildings are generally named after people who provide money. But back then, it was based off merit and the work you put in to your job,” Javersak said. It was Tom’s dedication and love of his work that led to the building being named in his honor.
Today, the Myers Maintenance Building houses the Physical Plant and Facilities Management departments, as well as automotive repair bays, a carpenter shop, a paint room, a store room, two loading docks, an adjacent storage grounds facility and CAD capabilities. All the lawn care tools as well as the school vans and golf carts are housed here. Also, there is a certified mechanic on hand to fix the vehicles and a locksmith to make new room keys.
The Myers Maintenance Building is the central hub for our maintenance workers on campus. Our maintenance crew is the core of what keeps our campus alive and thriving. We couldn’t live on campus or get around it safely if it wasn’t for their dedication to their job. The maintenance crews often get overlooked by many staff members and students, but they are the lifeblood of this campus. They enable us to live on a safe and functioning campus while we better our education.
So, the next time you walk around campus and you smell a freshly cut lawn, see a new coat of paint on a building, ride in an elevator, or walk on a smooth sidewalk, you can think of Tom Myers and all the past and present maintenance crews and be grateful for all of the dedication that they have shown to our campus.
Photo Credit: Walker Polivka