Week #27- Jon Roodbol, Facilities Supervisor

    This week, we welcome guest blogger Janet MacDonald (Head of Learning) to lead Kids’ Club.  Take it away Janet…

    If your power goes off in the middle of a storm or your sink gets clogged and overflows all over the floor- Who you gonna call?  If you’re lucky, you have someone right at home who can help.  According to our guest kids- Mom and Dad are pretty handy!

    But, what does it take to keep this giant ‘facility’ called the Royal BC Museum running smoothly and safely?

    From toilets to telephones, water to windows [great examples by the way]–facilities work at the Royal BC Museum is never done and it takes an entire team to keep things in tip top shape. We’re heading over to meet Jon Roodbol, the man who knows this place inside and out; top to bottom…

    Jon’s tour has some REALLY LOUD surprises in store for us and safety precautions for everyone who visits and works here is a number one priority for him.

    Over the next 40 minutes we will travel from below sea-level to the top of the Fannin Tower – discovering some high tech machinery that keeps this place running.

    First stop… the computerized Emergency Generator Room or the ‘gen room’ as he calls it. He talks about the importance of keeping the power on in the case of an emergency.

    How this back up system would kick in to supply temporary power to keep safety lights on so you could find your way outside, operate our fire pumps to ensure our sprinklers work in case of a fire and run the all-important heating, ventilation and air conditioning units that control the temperature and humidity to keep our collections safe – more about that later…

    Facility Factoids! It took 4 truckloads of cement to build this underground room; strong enough for trucks to run over its roof.

    This day tank contains enough diesel fuel to keep the Museum, Exhibitions & Archives powered up for 24 hours.  The double sealed holding tank buried outside the “gen room” holds enough diesel fuel to run the generators for 4 days!

    Next stop…deep down below sea level to the tunnel that links the Exhibitions Building with the Fannin Tower. 50 years ago, this tunnel was the only inside and safe passage for staff to travel with objects. The Glass Lobby directly above us was built in 1997 – before that… the great outdoors!

    We considered what the pipes and wire bundles along the walls and ceiling of the tunnel might carry. Can you hazard a guess?

    Ear plugs at the ready once again, Jon warns us that we may hear a loud noise coming from what he affectionately calls the Poop Pump Room – try to say that fast three times!

    Every 20 minutes or so depending on toilet traffic in the Museum the pump kicks in to move the waste products up and out of here!

    The valves on the poop pump need to be checked on a regular basis. NO ONE wants the pump to stop working, we mean NO ONE! The safety harness keeps you from falling and your buddy is there if you do.

    Jon brings us up to the 10th floor of the Fannin Building to show us one of the new HVAC units installed on the roof. The Royal BC Museum  has a Double AA ASHRAE standard designation with regards to our environmental controls for the collections and exhibitions.

    These new roof top units help us maintain that standard!

    Spot the HVAC … Bonus points if your remember what HVAC stands for? [Hint: the emergency generator keeps these important basic needs working for us when the power goes out]

    While some of us were taking in the view, Jon showed a video he shot on the early Sunday morning that the HVAC units was lowered onto the roof by a helicopter. Wish we had have been there to wake up the neighbours!

    What 32 View visit is complete without a ride in the Freight elevator.

    Thanks Jon for keeping the lights on, the water flowing, the pumps pumping, the grass cut, the phones working, the warmth in winter, the cool air in summer – keeping our precious collections and you our visitors safe and sound.


    Chris O'Connor


    Learning Program Developer

    View Profile