• Andy Sadler

Club Cars--Olivet College's Unique Maintenance Vehicles

The Physical Plant Department at Olivet College saves money and energy by using an interesting mode of transportation: six electric-powered vehicles around half the size of a normal car, used to transport people and materials for maintenance and housekeeping purposes.

“We have six electric – we call them Club Cars – that are used for the maintenance folks to get around campus,” said Billy Hastings, director of facilities at the Physical Plant Department. “They’re battery powered, they don’t take any gasoline or diesel fuel, they’re virtually noiseless, and they fit on the sidewalks, so we don’t tear the grass up going up to the buildings. They’re assigned to each maintenance man.”

Club cars refer to a brand of utility vehicles. According to the Club Car website, these vehicles can cost upwards of $16,000 or more.

In addition to the six club cars, a miniature red truck stands out among the Physical Plant’s roster of vehicles. This truck in particular, according to Hastings, is used for transporting housekeeping goods, such as paper towels or toilet paper.

All of these vehicles are also road legal. According to Hastings, Physical Plant used to have golf carts, but the city of Olivet asked that the vehicles they drove had turn signals, blinkers, and brake lights so that they could be considered. As such, all of the club cars and the red truck have license plates just below their back ends.

The Physical Plant Department, according to an interview with former director of facilities Frank Schumacher on Olivet College’s website, is mainly responsible for maintaining all of the buildings and grounds on campus, taking care of student and staff requests, planning and scheduling all conferencing groups, and scheduling all Olivet College vehicles for use. With the recent winter storm, the Physical Plant department has been busy plowing roads and sidewalks on campus to ensure that students and staff can get to and from classes safely.