Sure, you have to worry about your home during Hurricane Irma, wondering if the roof will suffer damage, or the siding will be ripped off. But imagine worrying about 1,298 buildings during the storm?
That job falls to Jeanna Mastrodicasa, associate vice president for operations of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the IFAS Facilities Planning and Operations team. The facilities include buildings, greenhouses, barns and shade houses, she said. The buildings are located at sites across the state as well as on the main UF campus in Gainesville, she said.
UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce has the largest number of facilities, with 76 buildings, Mastrodicasa said. UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred is home to 61 buildings, and UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education in Homestead has 60 buildings.
“Right now we’re really worried about our facilities in Immokalee, Homestead, Fort Lauderdale, Ona and Belle Glade, because the storm hit those areas the hardest. My team has to keep an eye on all of these buildings that are in harm’s way,” Mastrodicasa said. “So, we’ve found an innovative way to do that. We monitor every building from our offices at the main campus via a centralized dashboard that provides electricity and water usage, and any other data about the facilities.”
Because they’re able to track each building, Mastrodicasa and her team have been able to target buildings that need improvements. “Every year, we become more energy efficient,” she said.
As she rode the storm out, Mastrodicasa continues to keep watch over all of UF/IFAS facilities. “We want to provide employees the best work environment, and that includes buildings that are safe,” she said.