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University of Utah Meets Three Cleaning Challenges with Cordless Backpacks

GoFree Flex Pro cordless backpack vacuumTodd Stoneking has been a custodial supervisor at the University of Utah for the last decade. He worked his way to that position after starting as a part-time custodian in 1989 while attending the university.

The university’s custodial staff cleans 121 campus buildings covering about seven million square feet of space. The facilities include a broad range of cleaning challenges. From century-old buildings to brand new ones, every square foot must be maintained to a high standard in spite of heavy usage.

Combining zone cleaning by day and a modified team cleaning system at night, Stoneking and his fellow supervisors use every trick in the book to make sure that the diverse demands of each building are met, including adopting battery-powered backpack vacuum. Their GoFree® Flex Pro cordless backpacks have helped manage three different cleaning challenges on campus.

The Library

The campus library serves one and a half million patrons a year, making it one of the highest traffic buildings on campus. A standard backpack vacuum cord is 50 feet long, but each row of books in the library is over 50 feet long. Before the cordless backpack vacuums, it was impossible for a custodian to clean down a single aisle in the library without stopping to change outlets.

GoFree Flex Pro cordless backpack vacuum“We did a field test with the GoFree Pro, and the crew came back and said they cut their vacuuming time in half. The employees told me, ‘We want this vacuum, you can’t have it back,’” said Stoneking. “We bought our first one after that test.”

Lecture Classrooms

In the university’s lecture-style classrooms, chairs on posts are arranged on semi-circular tiers. Like the rows of library books, these classrooms are more than 50 feet wide creating time losses from changing outlets, and, due to the chairs being bolted down, vacuum cords were prone to getting tangled around them during cleaning.

“They were spending two to three hours a day cleaning those classrooms. They have cut that back to do it with one battery charge,” said Stoneking. “They’ve been very impressed with the GoFree in that building. It’s very effective in that niche.”

Student Life Center

The Student Life Center is an 181,000-square-foot complex that features a 50-meter pool, a four-story climbing wall, and a 15,000 square foot fitness center. Due to the high traffic in the building, the center’s staff requested extra cleaning during the day when students are present, especially on the stairs and in the fitness center. The cordless backpack is able to easily maneuver workout equipment and clean the stairs without disrupting building occupants or presenting a tripping hazard. According to Stoneking, the cleaning power of the GoFree in those three areas matches the cleanliness of the rest of the campus.

“Health is the biggest reason we clean, but we also want someone to walk in and think, ‘Oh, this looks nice,’” said Stoneking. “If we didn’t have ProTeam, we would have to do a lot more work. I don’t know how we did it before we had ProTeam backpacks, I really don’t.”

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