The way BYU manages its buildings has won national attention from the Association of Phyisical Plant Administrator.s BYU was recently names the winner of the APPA's Excellence in Facilities Management Award for universities with more than 5,000 students. This is the first year the "elite" award has been given, said Ed Coussins, BYU's assistant vice president for physical facilities. Walt Schaw, executive vice president of APPA, said BYU was chosen for its innovation and exceptional performance over along period of time.
"I sat through the evaluation process and what impressed me was the tremendous relationship between the physical plant people and the academic side," Schaw said.
Coussins said BYU's reputation for efficiency in its management of physical facilities goes back to Sam Brewster, who directed the Physical Facilities Plant in the 1950s. Then, BYU Pres. Ernest L. Wilkinson recruited Brewster from Auburn University in Alabama, where he was considered one of the country's best facilities' managers.
"We've been pioneers in some areas," Coussins said. "We have a unique organization where we combine planning, construction and maintenance. When we build a new building, we submit the plans to all of our employees. They have an opportunity to look at the plans and make comments. We particularly seek imput from out maintenance people because, when the building is completed, they become the caretakers."
BYU has 139 academic buildings, 77 for administration and physical plant services and 269 for student housing on its 638-acre campus.