They might be the first thing a traveler sees after arriving in Augusta, so how could the restrooms at Augusta Regional Airport be characterized as “nasty?”
“It’s horrible when you hear our customers saying, ‘I had to roll up my pants to walk in because there’s water all over the floor,” a member of the Augusta Aviation Commission, Grey Murray, said last week.
A wet floor would wreak havoc on a passenger’s bag, but that’s not the only problem that surfaced during a tense Thursday meeting of the airport board.
Murray and several others on the board reported using the airport several times last month as an in-house custodial service replaces contracted workers, and emerged with horror stories.
Augusta’s were among the worst he’d ever experienced, Murray said.
“When I walked into the restrooms, I was kind of shocked they were like that,” he said.
Built in 2007, the restrooms are due for upgrades that will make them easier to clean, but not knowing when the complaints arose makes them harder to address, Facilities Director Paul Strycharz said.
A single passenger from a group arriving on an Augusta flight can sully the facilities, Strycharz said.
Airport commission member Cedric Johnson said it was more than strewn paper he personally observed.
“It was just nasty, like it hadn’t been cleaned,” Johnson said.
The women’s room was mopped and cleaned Thursday. A counter opening into a bagless trash can was broken, and a wet floor sign stood on water-stained carpet outside the entrance. Scraps of paper lay around one sink.
Member Davis Beman said he’d received complaints and, despite supporting the new janitorial program, he hopes it’s not off to an “inadequate” start.
Executive Director Herbert Judon said some complaints may have arisen during the airport’s first daily flight, after a 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. window when custodians aren’t working.
The commissioners named times - morning, afternoon and evening - when they had observed unclean conditions.
Beman asked Judon if anyone on staff could simply check the restrooms periodically for cleanliness. Judon said the entire staff was charged with keeping an eye on the restrooms.
The only way to make sure they’re clean at all times is to hire restroom attendants, as his former airport, Charlotte Douglas International, had, Judon said.
Adding staff would have to wait until next year, he said.
Johnson said the matter could not wait. “Let’s talk about now,” he said.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.