Hello VCEA Pullman All Employees,

I hope this message finds you and your families well.

Voiland College would like to let you know starting Saturday April 4th the university will temporarily adjust its procedures for unlocking buildings on the Pullman campus. While the university remains open for business, only those buildings that are deemed essential to walk-in traffic will remain unlocked during regular building hours. All other building exterior doors will remain locked until the university begins to bring personnel back to campus, post COVID-19. This process change will roll out over the next week, affecting the vast majority of buildings on the Pullman campus.

VCEA buildings will be among the first in the process change.

As of Saturday April 4th all VCEA building exterior doors will remain locked, and will not be unlocked during normal business hours.

Below are answers to a few FAQs:

If The University Is Open Why Are Buildings Locked

Washington State’s Governor issued a proclamation to Stay Home-Stay Safe as a proactive response to COVID-19. WSU, in observing this proclamation, has moved all classes online, transitioned most personnel into teleworking agreements working from home, and reduced it’s on campus activities to those activities necessary to keep the university open. The campus as a result is minimally occupied. Buildings that do not require walk-in traffic are being closed to the public to reduce risk to public safety, where applicable reduce resources, and redirect custodial services to those areas that are still occupied.

Which VCEA Buildings Will Be Locked

All VCEA buildings will remain locked starting Saturday April 4th until WSU Pullman campus activities ramp back up post-COVID-19. VCEA buildings to remain locked include Electrical Engineering / Mechanical Engineering (EEME), Engineering Teaching Research Lab building (ETRL), Dana Hall, Sloan Hall, Carpenter Hall, Daggy Hall, Wegner Hall, Paccar Environmental Technology Building (Paccar or PETB), Engineering Lab Building (ELB), Albrook, Thermal Fluids Research Building (TFRB), and the Research Park.

Will Temperatures or Building Services Be Affected (HVAC, Power, Water, Gas, etc.)

Although the VCEA building exterior entries will remain locked, building systems will continue to run as normal. There will be no change to temperatures, HVAC or other building services.

What Is The Building Entry Method – Cougar Card or Key

The following buildings are accessible via Cougar Card: Dana, ETRL, Sloan, EEME, Paccar, Carpenter, Daggy, and Wegner.

The following buildings are accessible only by key: ELB, TFRB, Albrook and the Research Park.

Please note: If the building you need access to is Paccar, Dana, EEME, Sloan, ETRL or Wegner the exterior Cougar Card reader may take several swipes to get the door to unlock. To alleviate any frustration, you may want to upgrade your Cougar Card to a proximity Cougar Card. A proximity card has the same features your regular Cougar Card has, in addition to an embedded proximity chip. The proximity card just needs to get close to the reader and the door unlocks. The Cougar Card with a proximity chip typically works while still in a purse, wallet or pocket. If your Cougar Card does not have the proximity feature, and you are approved to be working on campus, WSU Cougar Cards is currently offering a free upgrade (normally $10). They are located in the CUB basement between 9 AM-4 PM Monday – Friday.

Do I Have Building Access

If you or your personnel plan to come to campus to work you will need approval from your unit’s Chair or Director. Once approved, your unit’s administrative manager can then ensure either Cougar Card access or a key is provided to you.

Will Classrooms Be Closed

Yes, all classrooms will be closed.

All VCEA departmental classrooms, teaching labs, and computer labs are already closed, or will have been closed by end of day Friday 4/3/2020. (Departmental teaching spaces are specific to the teaching pedagogy of a program, and are operated by a school/department. These spaces and are not for general use by faculty across WSU.)

WSU will also be closing General University Classrooms (GUCs). (GUCs are classrooms that any WSU faculty may use for teaching, and can be reserved for academic activities or by student programs at WSU.) WSU Pullman Colleges have been confirming their GUC usage with the Provost’s Office for the past several days. All VCEA faculty have confirmed with their supervisor(s) they are teaching from home, or have gotten specific exception to teach from their office as of Friday 3/27/2020. Signs will be posted at building entries notifying the public all classrooms are closed, and signage will also indicate the contact at WSU Facilities Services for questions.

What Precautions Should I Take

If you feel sick, or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 stay home.

Please maintain social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and follow CDC COVID-19 guidelines.

It is advised you clean all areas you might touch before touching them, for your safety. While custodial is still cleaning areas they are doing so with less frequency. Custodial service operations are being redirected to focus on buildings that are allowing walk-in traffic for public health.

If you take an elevator, ride alone. To observe social distancing, for you and the other rider’s safety, do not get in an elevator if it is already occupied.

Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.

If an elevator halts push the call button located near the (floor call) buttons, located within the cab. The call button will route you to an operator and they will dispatch an elevator technician or emergency service.

Working In Laboratories

If you or your personnel plan to come to campus to work in a laboratory you will need to have an exception for yourself and for each of your personnel, from the Voiland College Associate Dean of Research, Dr. David Field. The WSU Office of Research provided messaging on activities that should be ramped down, and/or considered for continuation.

Safety In Buildings – Please Do Not Prop Doors Open

If you are working in a building , please do not prop exterior doors open. If you see a building exterior door propped open, please close it. If something in the building seems wrong, please don’t hesitate to contact the WSU Police at 911 or the non-emergency number at 509-335-1380.

Accidentally Locked Out

If you are locked out of your area or a building you can call the non-emergency number for WSU Safety Services (aka WSU Police). You will need to have ID with you. The non-emergency number is 509-335-1380.

If You Want To Continue Working And Are In Hazardous Environments

If you have approval to continue working in a laboratory (noted in Working In Laboratories above), and the laboratory may contain hazards, please do not work alone. (This practice applies anytime work takes place in a hazardous environment.) Make sure you have a colleague working in the area with you, maintain social distancing, and best practice is to also tell someone (not working in the lab at the same time with you) where you will be and how long you plan to be there.

Emergency Contacts

In event of a life threatening emergency please call 911.

In event of a security or safety concern please contact the WSU Safety Services office at 509-335-1380.

In event of a facility issue (such as a water leak) please call Facilities Services at 509-335-9000.

In event of a lab safety issue please contact Environmental Health & Safety at 509-335-3041 or as appropriate the Office of Radiation Safety at 509-335-8916.

For any concern please feel free to contact the VCEA Director of Facilities Operations and Safety Services directly at 509-335-3783 or 509-432-1649.

Please Be Prepared In Event of Power Loss, Service Interruption, or Supply Chain Shortage

Power Failure

A power failure is one of the most likely emergency situations at WSU, and depending on what you are operating can create a high risk situation quickly. Please exercise caution in your emergency preparation planning around a power failure. Note: VCEA has no buildings with backup power. When the power goes out power outlets do not work, hoods do not work, the air systems shut down, and elevators halt. (For PACCAR occupants toilets will also not flush – the building’s water reclamation system provides the toilets with water, but does not operate in a power outage.) The only systems that consistently work in a power failure are emergency lights, fire alarms, and emergency fire sprinklers. WSU does have generators but they are only used for an extended power loss, and only certain areas of campus may be brought online with the generators.

Water Outage

While it is not typical, there are occasions that a building’s water will go down. This might affect equipment or areas that are water cooled or systems that are on the DI water.

Procurement Delay

Due to COVID-19 many supply and distribution chains are experiencing delays, interruption, or back-orders. If you have supplies that are critical to operating your lab please plan appropriately.

Please stay safe,


Darlene Russell-Neunherz, MBA
Director, Facility Operations & Safety Services
Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Washington State University
Email: drussell@wsu.edu
Phone: 509-335-3783