Case Study: Portland Civic Center

Low maintenance has new appeal for Civic Center Operations Manager

You could say that Jim Leo, operations manager at the Cumberland County Civic Center located in Portland, ME, knows how to keep busy. He and one other full time staff member maintain the 30,000 square foot facility that, on average, plays host to half a million patrons each year as a multipurpose venue for various concerts, trade shows, events, and more.

In addition to keeping the facility in working order inside and out, Leo and his colleague are also responsible for installing and breaking down an ice rink that is home to the Portland Pirates AHL hockey team. According to Leo, each time there is an event, other than hockey, the ice needs to be covered and the hockey glass needs to be taken out, a job for which Leo brings in a crew of 14 to help.

"At one time, just maintaining the six restrooms could keep me busy," says Leo who has managed operations at the Civic Center for 16 years. "We have six large restrooms on one-and-a-half floors that are heavily used, particularly during intermissions. The equipment really takes a beating." According to Leo, prior to revamping the restrooms with new equipment, one time-consuming job was continually repairing the facility's 21 hand dryers. Armed with a can of air and alcohol wipes, Leo frequently had to unblock auto sensors and repair or replace heater coils or motors. "The dryers, which had only been installed for three years, had become a maintenance nightmare."

Still, Leo knew that switching to paper towels was not a viable option, as they too would become a source of extra maintenance from blocked toilets and overflowing trash cans - not to mention the cost and environmental implications. Leo decided to install new hand dryers in the facility. "We chose to call on Excel Dyer because, prior to the last two dryers we used, they were the original hand dryers installed when the facility was built in 1977 and the ones that lasted the longest."

Leo subsequently installed 21 new XLERATOR® hand dryers, and after three years of operation, has only had to perform maintenance on a single dryer. "For us, finding a low maintenance, reliable product was essential because it afforded us the time to fix something else," says Leo.

While time savings were most important to Leo, he also benefited from the added energy savings. "These dryers draw an average of 1500 watts per use, compared to the traditional 2300 watts, and shut off just two seconds after hands are removed from the sensor," added Leo. As such, they have augmented some of the facility's other energy-saving updates such as a new lighting system in hallways and the arena, new heating and an updated refrigeration system for the ice plant.