Cleaning Up the Conversation around Laundry Machines

Admit it – we all have that one dirty, smelly corner in our room where we stuff our smelly socks and dirty dress code and try to forget about it. Until, one day, we are forced by its pungent smell to brave the bristling winds and trudge over to Livermore to do laundry. And, in that walk, maybe you wonder about this laundry service we have. Why does it cost three dollars per load? Why do only certain dorms have it in the comfort of their common room?


Holderness partners with a commercial laundry service called Mac-Gray. “There’s no revenue to the school at all in laundry,” Mr. Ryan, the director of housekeeping, says. The money we use up in our laundry cards all go to Mac-Gray, and in return, they cover for our machines and maintenance. When breakage occurs, such as the temporary malfunction of the card machine that occurred last fall, Mr. Ryan puts in a work order to have it fixed at no additional cost to the school. Turns out, this is the most cost-effective plan. If Holderness purchases and supports its own machines, thus enabling free laundry service to the students, frequent malfunctioning would prove too costly to maintain.


For laundry installation in dorms, the process is much more difficult than it seems. The decision of adding laundry machines considers more than just the amount of space in dorms. Mr. Ryan explains the long list of consideration: “some buildings are limited, either limited by space or … certain building codes or availability of electrical power or access to water.” Circumventing every problem adds up to a hefty price tag as well. Consequently, laundry machines are usually an extra feature added on a larger, more complete renovation. That is why only the dorms built or refurbished after partnering with Mac-Gray contain laundry machines.


The hope to escape the dreaded walk to Livermore is not gone, however. Holderness is constantly looking to improve facilities – just this summer we are getting a renovation of a dorm on The Hill! Mr. Ryan says that he doesn’t “know the sequence or timing of how [renovations] will happen,” but it’s safe to say that the planning will happen in the near future. Who knows – the next laundry machine might just be added to your future dorm!