Taking Care of Business

Dillard University opens up its gates daily to about 200 cars carrying workers of all kinds.  As the workers prepare to build a better campus from every angle, everything is being checked on and watched by Dr. Edgar Chase.  As the Vice President of Master Facilities Planning and Facilities Management, Chase takes on his new position to manage the construction and improvements of the school.


Currently coming out his early retirement as dean of the Division of Business, Chase transitioned from one position to another as he took up a new responsibility.


Explaining his move, he recognized the differences in the two working environments.  Chase said, “I saw this job as a chance to see Dillard at another capacity.”


Chase accomplishes his tasks along with Assistant Vice President of Business and Finance, Nick Harris, and President Marvalene Hughes.  Chase currently works side-by-side with architects Art Flemming and Marvin Alexander on improvements on campus and off campus.  The other managers on the campus are divided according to the buildings they manage and revisions they make with construction.


Although the prime contract for Dillard is Carl E. Woodward, L.L.C, many other general contractors pitch in to make sure that the school will be ready for the fall semester. Chase monitors each step and all assignments given to each contractor of each building. 


“There are 21 buildings that are worked on every day and we are not losing site of the big picture.  If everything is worked on during the same time, we can finish the job on time or earlier,” said Chase.


Momentarily, the committee of contractors attains goals through a method called “rocks in the road.”  Every Monday, Chase and the other managers identify the rocks, stumbling blocks and obstacles to complete.  These follow-ups are to make sure every building is on schedule.  “Through this, we are able to clear the road of every rock and get back on schedule, routinely,” said Chase.


Although the contractors and architects are working hard to make Dillard a more enriched and accessible school, Chase said some ideas have derived from academic side of the institute.  The process of determining upgrades also comes from the administration, faculty and staff.


One improvement that is based on the academic point of view is the Will W. Alexander Library.  With blueprints for the exterior portions of the library, the interior sections will be upgraded to improve the learning status for students.  Along with the library, the inside of other buildings will be upgraded for a better educational background.


Chase and the rest of the renovation crew are preparing the campus for the upcoming commencement.  “The Avenue of the Oaks will be ready for the graduates and pretty soon the whole campus will be the most beautiful school that our ancestors have ever imagined.”


Meeting a final deadline for Aug. 11, the campus will be ready for every student, faculty and staff.  Under the organization of Dr. Chase, he is confident that things will be prepared and ready for the upcoming semester.