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Published: Thursday, 5/14/2009

Community college aims to save with 4-day weeks

Owens Community College is in the first week of a plan to save money this summer by closing campus for three-day weekends.

Employees still will work 40 hours a week, but the time will be squeezed into Monday through Thursday, said John Satkowski, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the college.

"We were looking at ways to save money and this was just one of them that came up," he said.

By closing most buildings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the college expects to save at least $150,000 in utility costs. The staff will turn off the lights, shut down computer labs, and turn down the air conditioning, Mr. Satkowski said.

"This allows us to shut lights off entirely in some of the buildings and turn Friday into Saturday or Sunday," he said.

While there will inevitably be events during the weekends, he said those will be consolidated to a specific building or buildings so the college can keep all others closed.

The college's head count of more than 21,000 students in the fall drops to about a third of that during the summer.

And with almost no weekend classes in the summer and just a handful of Friday courses, it wasn't hard to reschedule those to other days, Mr. Satkowski said.

The staff was on board with the change because who wouldn't want three-day weekends in the summer, he said.

"We were really surprised in how well it was accepted," he said.

Owens plans to continue the shortened workweeks through the end of July.

If there are problems with the condensed week, the college will re-evaluate it, Mr. Satkowksi said.

"We said, 'Let's give it a try and see how it works,' " he said.



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