Talk about your monumental tasks! When the New York Yankees’ August 29th game against the Detroit Tigers was rained out and rescheduled as a day-night double-header the very next day, Harvard Maintenance had less than 20 hours to arrange for Yankee Stadium to be brought back into game condition between games, while moving one crowd out and another crowd in.

Cleaning the 56,000 seat ballpark in The Bronx between games always presents a logistical nightmare. Complicating matters was that both the Yankees and Tigers are playoff bound, and the fact that this is their last scheduled series of the season necessitated very short notice in arranging the twin bill.

As they have for the past 11 seasons, the Yankees once again turned to Harvard Maintenance with the task of cleaning the Stadium’s seating areas – only this time the 450 workers needed for the job had to be deployed on less than a day’s notice, and the job had to be done in under an hour!

After an average regular season game, Harvard’s normal team of 200 “sweepers and pickers” would take about four hours to comb the Stadium top to bottom, collecting from 10 to 12 tons of refuse left in the stands by fans. It is a truly specialized task that requires a unique synchronicity of effort.

Harvard Maintenance’s reputation for excellence in this field has won the company the contracts for Shea Stadium in Queens, as well as the New York Mets’ and Yankees’ Minor League franchises, the Brooklyn Cyclones at Keyspan Park in Coney Island, and the Trenton Thunder at Waterfront Park in Trenton, NJ. Harvard also holds the contract for cleaning services at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton.

Most companies would cringe at taking on such large-scale projects under rigid time constraints, but not Harvard. In addition to the five Northeast stadiums and arenas, Harvard’s recent acquisition of Elite Maintenance based in Chicago added two additional Illinois stadium cleaning contracts to their roster: Silver Cross Field, home of the Joliet Jackhammers, and Alexian Field, home of the Schaumburg Flyers, both of the independent Northern League.

While cleaning the stadiums on an accelerated schedule between games of a doubleheader is not a new task for Harvard, the one-hour timeframe did present an additional challenge. Their previous record for the job was 47 minutes, making Yankee Stadium the only sports arena in the country able to be completely restored to pre-game status within this time frame. Harvard topped their previous best with a record time of 40 minutes for the between game clean-up.

Harvard employed an additional 250 workers to tackle the job, and the entire clean-up team was mustered behind the Stadium ready to spring into action as soon as the last fan left the building. Remarkably, Harvard was able to shave nearly three hours off the usual cleaning time, allowing the gates to be re-opened for the 7 p.m. second game by 4:30 p.m.

“Most companies would squirm at the thought of stepping up to the plate for such big project within such a rigid time frame,” said Harvard President Stan Doobin. “However, Harvard perceives such challenges as opportunities to draw on our innovative approach and continue to set new standards for other maintenance companies to follow.”