It's a rare moment when Brandon Boyd, the facilities manager for McKinley Health Center, isn't doing something related to construction.
With the university for 14 years, Boyd manages the day-to-day building needs of McKinley - then goes home to work on his family's 1800s-era farmhouse near Cisco, Illinois.
"When I bought it, I jokingly said it was my 10-year project," he said of the house. "But now, because of kids and life, it's become my 20-year project."
He also consults and oversees construction and remodeling of several apartments and retail spaces in Monticello, Illinois.
"I've been in the construction field for more than 20 years," he said, noting he grew up around construction projects by working alongside his father, a carpenter who gladly shared building techniques and other tricks of the trade.
"He'd pull us out of school to help with concrete work or a construction project," he said. "At some point I just decided to do it on my own. Before long, there were people who wanted me to do work for them. I just kind of fell into something I really enjoy doing."
After working on his own as a contractor for years, in 2000 he was hired as a service foreman at the Illini Union, a position he held for 10 years.
Much of that job's responsibilities entailed cleaning and setting up and breaking down the myriad meetings held there, but not much construction work.
"We were constantly getting ready for some big event or another," he said. "It's amazing what it takes to run that building."
He moved to McKinley four years ago, which has allowed him to be involved in more-detailed remodeling and maintenance projects and better utilize his construction background.
The original part of the building was constructed in 1924, and additions were completed in the 1940s and 1960s. There's always plenty to be done, he said.
"It's nice to work someplace where people want to take care of these beautiful old buildings," he said. "The U. of I. doesn't just knock down an old building to build a new one."
In addition to the day-to-day maintenance needs, McKinley has a clinic where patients are seen, which means a long list of added responsibilities that include keeping hospital equipment in repair, meeting health codes and disinfecting large areas.
"We take care of a variety of stuff throughout the day," he said. "There is no job classification for some of the things we do. It seems we're constantly putting on fresh coats of paint and trying to make it look even better."
That means a regular routine of cleaning and maintaining the building's aging systems - and then making repairs when something breaks down. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring steady temperature levels throughout the building.
"Things just wear out over time," he said. "You just try to be proactive. We make rounds through the mechanical rooms several times a day, just to make sure everything is all right."
Service work for the larger or more-specialized equipment is contracted, and some of the larger construction projects have Boyd teaming up with Facilities and Services. The building's cleaning is done by an overnight crew.
"I've got a really good crew who gets the job done, and I have a good relationship with F&S," he said. "Being in health care is a little different because the standards are so much higher. It's shocking how many students use this facility."
In the winter, the crew takes over the snow shoveling and salting duties - a task that encompassed most of their time during last year's severe weather.
In January, that weather led to a frozen sprinkler pipe in an attic space, which caused the pipe to burst and water to run throughout the building. Boyd's crew went into disaster mode.
"I knew something was wrong when I got the phone call that night from the sub-foreman," he said. "We had it back under control pretty quickly."
Water damage was extensive on every floor in the building, despite the fact the water was turned off just minutes after discovering it pooling on brand new carpeting and running down the stairwell.
"I don't know how many gallons of water there was, but it looked like a war zone in here," he said, noting that cabinets, furniture and even walls had to be replaced.
To make matters worse, when a contractor was brought in to dry out the building with giant fans, the heavy-duty equipment overwhelmed the electrical system and caused a power outage that lasted two more days.
"It was a pretty hectic few days," he said.
Boyd said he has enjoyed overseeing several big projects in his four years at McKinley, including the replacement of four massive chimneys, revamping the
X-ray room and remodeling the mental health section of the building. The next project is the final phase to complete the remodeling of the building's laboratory.
"I'm always looking for things on the fly to make the project better," he said. "It's something I'm very passionate about."
Boyd has been married to Tammy for 14 years, and they have 13-year-old twin sons and an 11-year-old daughter. He said they all enjoy cross-country running and almost any other outdoor activity.
"We like anything that has to do with nature," he said. "We just like being outside."
In addition to the work he does on the side, Boyd is nearing the completion of his bachelor's degree in organizational and professional development from Eastern Illinois University, through a program at Parkland College.
"It's taken me six years, and this is finally the last semester," he said..