Thursday, June 9, 2011

Independence Week 3

Week three has brought us to the maintenance department, which some have called the heartbeat of the park. We began the week meeting Jean Marra, the chief of maintenance here at INDE. He explained the integral role that all the different maintenance divisions play in keeping the park running in a safe, clean and presentable fashion. We were shown the FMSS and PMIS programs that manage work orders, and spent some time in the Purchasing department to see how they can possibly manage all the materials that are needed to keep the busy park in service.

90+ degree weather and Polyester shirts were no match for us, or the rest of the grounds crew. We spent some time mulching and planting some Wave Petunias along the Liberty Bell block in preparation for the upcoming Freedom Week festivities. It was an eye-opener to see all the hard work that these grounds crews do everyday. They were even kind enough to give us some tips for staying cool and functional as the temperatures climbed.

Then moving to the exact opposite side of the temperature spectrum, we were able to spend the better part of one of our days in the chiller plant. In order to efficiently cool many of the historical buildings throughout the park, the chiller plant cools and pumps massive amounts of chilled water through a maze of underground pipe-work to the various buildings throughout the park. The sheer size and magnitude of this operation is amazing.

Here I am inspecting a section of pipe that runs underneath Independence Hall. This type of system is vital to a historical park like INDE because in order to best preserve the centuries-old structures and artifacts, regulating the humidity and temperature of the buildings is absolutely necessary.

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