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Pride of Place

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Paul Stanton notches up 48 years as the longest-serving employee at Bay Path.

There is a common remark heard almost daily from people who visit Bay Path: “When I turn onto the main driveway to campus, I immediately feel this is a very special place.” For prospective students, they describe the picturesque campus as evoking a feeling of home, safety and welcome. Many guests and visitors have similar reactions. In so many ways, the first impression of the campus is one of a typical postcard scene of a New England college or university.

For Paul Stanton, director of facilities, and his team their mission is to make sure that pristine image is held to a high standard. The buildings, grounds, infrastructure, equipment, and systems that keep the University functioning all fall under the leadership of Paul, who oversees a full-time staff of 22, complemented by part-time workers in the summer and other peak times.

What is truly remarkable is that Paul has also made the same turn down the driveway to his office in the Physical Plant for 48 years. From his desk, he manages 38 University buildings and houses, a campus footprint of 65 acres, and three locations comprised of main Longmeadow, south campus athletic fields, and the Ryan Health Science Center in Longmeadow.

And Paul has a wealth of institutional history. Point at a building and he can share its life history. Walk across the grounds and he can tell anyone “what it looked like” 30 years ago. And he knows the nooks and crannies of many of the places we live, work, or call home. For example, Deepwood was the Wallace estate built in 1917. At the time, it was surrounded by woods and meadows. The Annex was the servants’ quarters for the estate, and D’Amour Hall was the carriage house/garage. In fact, D’Amour had a concrete turntable built into the floor in order to rotate the cars around so they wouldn’t have to back out of the garage. In 1929, the Robinson family constructed Empsall, which the University acquired in 1947. Over time, Empsall was a dormitory, offices, and the president’s house. On the subject of Bay Path’s physical transformation, Paul’s knowledge of Bay Path is incredible. During his tenure, Paul was involved with the construction of four buildings, four large building additions, 15 major renovations, and dozens of smaller renovation projects.

It was in 1971 that Paul began his career at Bay Path after graduating from high school. He worked part-time in the custodial crew while attending Springfield Technical Community College, and then Western New England University (WNEU) earning a degree in business. By the time he graduated from WNEU, Paul had a wife and a child.

In time, Paul became the supervisor for the custodial staff. It was not long after that the director of facilities left Bay Path, and Paul was offered the position. It was a big promotion and the timing was perfect as he now had a growing family. He’s held the position for over three decades.

Over the years, Paul has had many challenges and seen a multitude of changes. He’s had to deal with water main breaks in Blake and Theinert, the 2011 Halloween nor’easter known as “Snowtober” or “Shocktober” (depending on whom you are speaking with) that paralyzed the region and cut power to the town and the University for a week, and the winter of 2014-2015 that brought historic snowfall and closed Bay Path for a record four Mondays in a row. Through it all, Paul and his team have been quietly going about the business of keeping Bay Path up and running.

While climate change may be creating havoc for Paul, facility management has embraced technology and environmentally friendly initiatives. Buildings are now more online than ever, and energy-saving upgrades in lighting and heating are continual.

“The great thing about my job is that every day is different, and I have to learn about new developments. Like our lives, technology is driving a lot of the changes in facilities.”

Paul takes great pride in having a well-maintained campus. “I have to give the credit to the people in the department. They make it happen.” Paul, and his team, are worthy stewards of Bay Path. Together, they make our campuses exceptional learning, working and living environments.

Carpe Diem!

On a personal note, Paul is very proud that two of his daughters have attended Bay Path: Kim Stanton Gombotz '99 and Amy Stanton Pomeroy '01.