The Culver Military Academy in Culver, IN, was founded as a boys' boarding and day school in 1894. The girls' boarding and day school was founded in 1971. Its 1,800-acre campus has 38 main buildings including the Vaughn Equestrian Center (the largest indoor riding and stable facility in the United States), a flight training facility, and four academic buildings holding 53 classrooms and laboratories and six computer labs.

Approximately 700 students now attend Culver, with 90% of them living in the dormitories; students come to the campus for summer camp when classes are not in session. Boarding students live in one of eight dormitories and eat in the Herman W. Lay dining facility, which can seat the entire student body at once. Other facilities include a 50-bed health center; an auditorium; a 150,000-volume library; an ice arena; and the McMillen Athletic Center which contains two gymnasiums, three basketball courts, an indoor track, pool with diving well, an archery range, and seven racquetball courts. The campus has several smaller auxiliary buildings and 12 additional facilities that are only used during the summer camp session.

The academy employs 74 full-time faculty members, 22 part-time members, and 81 people on the administrative staff, in addition to 240 people on its hourly staff. The maintenance department has 12 full-time employees, two who deal mainly with preventive maintenance.

Campus Outgrows CMMS Program

Keeping up with the maintenance needs of such a sprawling campus is a challenge, but Culver's maintenance department had been successful using Eagle Technology, Inc.'s Maintenance Manager 2.6 program software since 1998. But last year, Russ Bjornstad, Culver's maintenance manager, found himself having to decide whether to invest in a software upgrade or to continue using the old program and suffer diminishing performance.

"The older program was helpful in allowing us to move to maintenance on a scheduled basis. In the past, equipment maintenance was fairly random and depended on the experience, memory, and time of the person doing the work," Bjornstad remembers. As the preventive maintenance program grew, however, so did the Academy's database. "Our maintenance program was getting too large for the software to handle," Bjornstad says.

There was so much database information that the older CMMS began to bog down, speed became an issue, and if Bjornstad hoped to continue with his plans to expand Culver's CMMS use, he'd have to address the database problem. Although getting approval for a new Eagle CMMS was no easy task, Bjornstad's perseverance paid off in late 2000 when he upgraded to Eagle's Maintenance Manager Expert program.

The Maintenance Manager product line has similar capabilities and performance to Eagle's ProTeus CMMS but with an important difference. The Maintenance Manager programs are designed to interface with Johnson Controls' Metasys(r) building automation system. Thus, work orders can be generated in Maintenance Manager based on Metasys alarms or on runtime totals.

A quick database conversion and IT assistance made the actual installation of the new software run smoothly. "We sent our old database in for conversion and we had it back in less than a week," Bjornstad remembers, "and the installation of the new program was a breeze since we had one of our network guys do it." (Eagle typically completes database conversions in three to five days, but occasionally, very large databases will take longer.)

After the new program was installed, Bjornstad attended a training class at Eagle's Mequon, WI, headquarters. Bjornstad remembers having some anxieties because the interface of the Maintenance Manager Expert program was different than the older CMMS, but now says, "The Maintenance Manager interface is logical and not difficult to figure out." While it is possible to upgrade from older versions of CMMS programs to newer ones without additional training, Eagle recommends that all upgrading customers go through three days of training onsite or at Eagle's facility.

Upgrade Opens New Options

The new program helps Culver's maintenance department keep up with facility maintenance for the campus. Bjornstad cited air-handling equipment as one of the main areas where the CMMS is used as well as several boilers and general facilities maintenance. Plans are in the works to use the system for grounds maintenance.

Now that Maintenance Manager Expert has been in use for several months, Bjornstad reports that the upgrade has taken care of his speed problems and also opened up some new options for his maintenance operation. "Accessing parts from the database is very simple now," he says, "tabbing through each section, the information pops up almost instantly. This program doesn't break my train of thought and I'm able to work at a quicker pace."

Bjornstad has also found the program's Crystal Reports option useful. "I use reports to follow the progress of the PM program so I know what PMs and DMs [Demand Maintenance] are out in the field. This way I have information to share with my supervisors."

In the future, Bjornstad plans to start using Maintenance Manager's Service Request module to allow faculty and staff who normally submit work requests by hand or over the phone to do so from their computers. Bjornstad feels this will cut down on the numbers of phone calls his department has to field and also will allow people submitting requests to get answers in a more timely manner. This module allows work requests to be sent in directly to Maintenance Manager or to an administrator who accepts or rejects the request before it is assigned as a work order.

Culver plans to run its service request module without an administrator. Bjornstad also plans to purchase additional workstations in 2001 so that other employees in the facilities office will be able to use the program. "It's easy to use, and it allows us to maintain our equipment while giving us a more complete view of campus maintenance and providing us with a lot of useful information."ES