Dale Noll is equal parts detective, problem-solver, historian, and downright magician. The director of plant operations for Eastcastle Place retirement community, is also an unwitting fitness buff, treading more than 10 miles daily as he provides upkeep and tender loving care of the 400,000-square foot building in Milwaukee’s vibrant Northpoint neighborhood.
Noll came to Milwaukee’s east side retirement community eight years ago. “I grew up on a dairy farm in Port Washington, where figuring out how to fix equipment was a prerequisite. My father taught me a lot about maintenance and I took some college classes, but I’m also largely self-taught. I like to tear things apart and then fix them. I love troubleshooting,” he said. “I’ve been mechanical my whole life. I keep after problems until I have them figured out.”
Eastcastle Place, which is exceedingly eclectic in terms of its origins, is the perfect conundrum for him. The original Victorian Gothic building was designed by renowned Milwaukee architects Henry Koch and Herman Esser in 1892. The building boasts original woodwork, Tiffany memorial stained glass, Cyril Colnik metalwork staircases, and more.
Major additions have been built in 1962, the mid-1970s and 2000, with equally varied mechanical, electrical, and cosmetic elements. The unparalleled charm and beauty of the building are not lost on Noll, but also test his skills, especially when deciding whether to repair or replace archaic items.
An honor, but challenge for Noll is the fact that the Historic Building at Eastcastle Place was listed as a Designated Preservation Structure. “Despite the newer additions, the entire property is considered to have historic significance, so any work that’s done outside requires research and approval from inspectors. There are a lot of hoops we need to jump through,” he said. “We can’t change the look of the building…and that includes a slate roof, copper flashing, and ornate stonework. We recently repaired a porch and it took two months to get the stone manufactured to match the existing stonework.”
Noll has a team of six in his department including four maintenance people and two security guards. His maintenance team, he said, is responsible for HVAC, painting, plumbing, electrical, etc. in residents’ apartments as well as offices and common areas. They also take care of the grounds and snow removal. The security guards provide 24-hour oversight of the campus.
Noll said that he takes great pleasure in “bending over backward” to grant residents’ requests. “I want to say ‘yes’ to everything they ask, and I always do everything I can to come as close as possible to what they’re requesting. The residents are very appreciative,” he said.
Eastcastle Place is a Life Plan Community located on Milwaukee’s vibrant East Side. Eastcastle Place offers independent living, promoting an active and engaging lifestyle for seniors. The Health Center at Eastcastle Place offers assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, thus providing complete continuing care for seniors. Eastcastle Place is managed by Life Care Services®. For additional information call 414-219-1398 or visit www.EastcastlePlace.com.