By Mickey Thaxton
Associate Executive Director
Please come and join the next “Conversation with Administration” at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, in Montgomery Station Maryland Hall.
These monthly conversations provide an opportunity for residents to share concerns and receive feedback. They also help the Administration understand what we can do to improve service to residents. Transcripts of questions and answers from the meeting may be rephrased without changing the accuracy of the information presented or omitted due to spacing issues for this column in the Reporter.
The following reflects the highlights of Conversation with Administration conducted in January:
Updates from the Executive Team
• Eight resident focus groups were held to gather feedback on communications across the campus. The newly formed Communications Committee facilitated the focus groups.
• Andrew Janosko introduced the new Senior Facilities Manager for Back of House Operations, Fernando Moreno.
• The new Village Square cooling tower was installed on Thursday and Friday, January 17 & 18. During this installation, the loading dock was shut down, but thanks to planning with the dining team, it did not affect operations.
• The Make Up Air Unit (MAU) for Park View was replaced starting on Thursday, January 17. This process took a few days as the existing unit had to be disassembled and removed before the new unit could be installed. Residents of Park View experienced some increased elevator traffic during this time.
• The exterior entrance doors at the Meadowbrook Square/Hunter Glen link is having frequent breakdowns due to higher usage than many of the other exterior doors and because it was one of the first automated doors installed. General Services is currently looking into long term solutions for this issue.
• Recently Park View and Walden Court had some hot water issues due to a malfunctioning mixing valve which regulates the temperature of the water to prevent excessive temperatures. General Services is repurposing an existing unused mixing valve to resolve the problem in the next few weeks.
• Calvert Landing and Fox Run are also dealing with some hot water issues due to the backup boiler’s electronics not working correctly. This problem should also be resolved in the coming weeks.
• The brown chairs in Town Center that many residents had an issue with have been replaced.
• The construction team that is working on the new Wellness Center is currently in the process of re-grading the space to make sure it is flat before actual construction begins. The new Wellness Center is still on track to be opened in early 2020.
• Repositioning in Lakeside Commons is currently scheduled to start in February with the first project being the construction of the new pub in that building. The first step in the development will be construction of a safety partition wall similar to the one that was in Town Center during its construction.
• Painting and re-carpeting of Town Center connected residential building is currently underway as part of the last phase of the Town Center repositioning. This project should be completed by mid-April.
• Mickey Thaxton also announced that he would be leaving Riderwood and Erickson Living at the end of February 2019.
Questions & Comments from Residents
• Since Montgomery Station doesn’t have a store, is it possible to have some breakfast foods available for purchase at the bar in the morning?
While this is something we can look into, we recommend bringing food-related suggestions to the Dining Services Town Hall meeting for Windsor.
• Many staff members are not leaving notices on their voice mails when they are out of the office for more than a day. Please remind staff that this is important so that residents aren’t waiting around for a response.
We will make sure that this information is passed along to staff members and that they are following the idea.
• While I am glad to hear that one problematic automatic door is being addressed, there are plenty of other doors with similar issues. My exterior door key is no longer working with the primary door that I use.
None of the exterior door locks have been changed. The exterior door locks won’t be changed until the Riderwood staff is satisfied with the functioning of the automatic doors. If you are having an issue with your key, that needs to be brought up to the security team to determine the problem.
• Why were residents not informed adequately that external door keys were no longer being issued and why was this change instituted?
We apologize that this was not communicated well. We will go back and look at how it was conveyed to figure out where the issue occurred. As for the reasoning, all residents (new residents and existing residents who need new keys) are not being issued new external door keys because the current plan is to eliminate the external door keys soon. Riderwood administration feels that it is not cost effective to continue to purchase and supply keys that will most likely no longer be used in the coming months.
• Why are external door keys being eliminated?
Since opening its doors in May 2000, Riderwood has issued over 8000 external door keys. A number of those keys have been lost or not returned, which means the external lock system is no longer secure. It is not practical to issue brand new keys to 2200 residents every time a key is misplaced. With the badge system, in the event a badge is lost, it can just be deactivated, meaning the misplaced badge is no longer a security threat.
• I wanted to thank the staff for taking such good care of the residents during the recent snow storm. A special thanks to the grounds team for making walking my dog easier.
Thank you for your comments.
• Why were the SwiftReach phone messages not automatically sent to all residents?
All SwiftReach phone messages SHOULD be going to all residents, but our resident information system does not automatically “talk” to the SwiftReach system, so the names and phone numbers must be entered manually. Because of this, occasional mistakes occur, and we ask that if residents don’t receive the SwiftReach messages to please contact the security team to get their information added.
• Is it possible to get a temporary fitness center added to Town Center until the new Wellness Center building is opened?
Unfortunately, due to space restrictions, cost, time, and regulations, we cannot put a temporary fitness center in Town Center, but we appreciate the suggestion.
• Can the SwiftReach phone call messages also be added to MyErickson either as a message or an announcement?
This idea should be possible, and we will look into instituting it shortly.
• Is there any possibility of the resident ID badges being used to access apartment doors?
Using your badge to open your apartment is a multimillion-dollar capital expenditure project which is only available at the two of our sister communities (Lantern Hill and Windsor Run) that included it in the initial construction process. While Riderwood has much of the infrastructure in place to eventually make that transition, it is not a project currently being considered for the near future.
• When the wind blows, my bedroom windows tend to create a howling noise. I’ve contacted General Services, but no one has been up to look at it.
If you aren’t getting timely responses, be sure to document the person you spoke with and the time and date you spoke with them. This will allow us to identify any communication breakdowns that are occurring with the staff. As for your windows, we apologize that no one has been up to see you and we will make sure that it is looked into as soon as possible.