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Audimax-behindthescenes

Ninelecturehalls,numerouscellarroomsandagreatdealoftechnology,whichcanbreak-theAudimaxkeepscaretakerKaiWoitschachonhistoes.Fortunatelyhesnotafraidofgreatheightsornarrowpassages.

Kai Woitschach
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AudimaxcaretakerKaiWoitschach

Lectures,receptions,NightoftheProfsandwelcomingoffirstsemesterstudents:withitstriangulararchitecture,theAudimaxisoneofthemostprominentbuildingsoncampus.Andatthesametime-thankstothelargenumberofeducationalandpubliceventsoffered-abuildingthatisnotonlyknowntoallstudentsattheCAU,butalsovisitedbymanyofKielscitizens.Theninelecturehallsandthefoyerarewellknown.However,thebiggestpartofthebuildingishiddenawaybehindtightly-closeddoors.Here,accessisonlyforaselectfew.OneofthemisKaiWoitschach.ThecaretakeroftheAudimaxknowswhatshidingbehindthescenes.

Keysarerequiredforeverything:thereareprecisely28differentonesontheheavybunchofkeysthatWoitschachplucksfromthebigkeyrackinhisoffice,whichislocatedrightnexttothelargelecturehall."WhenIarriveat6.30inthemorning,thisisthefirstandmostimportantthingthatIgrab,"explainsthecaretaker,whowithoneothercolleaguehasensuredorderlyanduninterruptedtechnicaloperationsforalllecturesintheAudimaxandotherbuildingsatKielUniversitysince2011.Becausewithouthiskeys,thelecturehalldoorscantbeopened,thelightsandventilationcantbeswitchedon,orthepartitionbetweenthelargeFrederikPaulsenlecturehallandlecturehallHcantberaisedorlowered-dependingonwhichlectureisonthetimetable."Forme,losingormisplacingthisbunchofkeyswouldbetheworstthingthatcouldhappen."But-"luckily"-thishasneverhappened.

Thebunchofkeysaccompaniesthecaretakereverywhere-alsoonhismorningtour,duringwhichWoitschachswitchesonandchecksthetechnicalequipmentinthelecturehalls."Oneofmyjobs,beforeeachlecture,istosetupthemicrophones,seewhethertheprojectorsareconnectedandrunning,andcheckwhetherthelightsinthewholeroomareworking,"hesaysandpointstotheceiling:"Thereisalreadyanotherbrokenbulb."Youcouldspenddaysonendreplacingallthebrokenlightbulbs,sighsthecaretaker.Thetwolargechandeliersinthefoyeralonehave250lightbulbs,hesaysandquicklymarchesbacktohisoffice.Butonhisway,Woitschachhaseyeseverywhere.Hepicksuprubbishoverhere,securesaforgottenmobilephoneoverthere,andcollectsapinkscarfelsewhere."Iamthecontactpersonforeverything,nomatterwhetheritisablockedtoilet,abrokenvendingmachine,non-functionalheatingorlostproperty."Hedoesnthavetofixthefirstthingshimself,butmustorganisetheplumbersandelectricianstodotherepairs,explainsWoitschach,andstuffsthescarfinthelostpropertycupboard,whichisoverflowingwithgloves,calculators,booksandpens.Themobilephoneispickedupbyitsownerashorttimelater,butmostthingsmustbedisposedofbytheuniversity."Thereisnothingthestudentsdontleavelyingaround."Woitschachhasaneyeoutforforgottencheatsheetsandmemos.Hecollectsthem."Ilikeartandcreativityofanykind"-andforhimthesenotesareexactlythat.

Inadditiontothelecturehalls,hiskingdomalsoincludestheclosedcellarrooms-ofwhichtheAudimaxhasmany.Becausethebuildinghasnotjustonebuttwocellarlevels."However,thesecondcellarlevelisonlyanemptycrawlspace,"explainsWoitschach.Inthefirstcellarleveltherearecountlesssmallfunctionalrooms,mostofwhichareinter-leadingbutseparatedbyheavyfiredoors."Therearesomanythatyoucanreallygetlost,"warnsthecaretaker,whoaftereightyears"doesntknoweverynookandcranny".Theroomscontainheating,ventilation,electricalequipment,wiring,fuseboxes,controlpanels,thebatteriesfortheemergencylighting,thespaceforstoringthepartitionofthelargelecturehall-andalotofdust.Downhereisalsothecaretakersstoragespace,anditiswhereWoitschachfetchesalightbulbforlecturehallH.Andthenoffhegoesathighspeedfromdownbelowtotheverytop-upcountlessstairsrightuptoundertheroof."Thisisourdailyfitnessprogramme."Itscertainlyquiteafewthousandstepspershift,saysWoitschachwithasmile.Butnowwemustbequietforawhile,hewarns.Thereisalecturetakingplaceinthelecturehall,andthecaretakermustclimbthestairsdirectlybehindtheblackboardandtheoldscreen.

Pastthestorageoftheuniversitycinemateam,thepopcornmachineandthepostersofclassicfilmslikeFeuerzangenbowle,hezoomsupthesteepstepsuntilhereachesaninclinedgratingagood20metersabovethehall-directlyabovetheheadsofthestudents."Thegratingcanberaisedincertainplaces,soyouhaveaccesstothelightbulbs."Itsquitesimpleforthislecturehall,butinotherplacesyoucanonlyreachthembycrawlingatgreatheights."Itwouldntbesuitableforpeoplewithvertigoorclaustrophobia."Butheenjoyshiswork."Notwodaysarethesame.Somethingunexpectedcanalwayshappen,whichwemustreactto.Thatsthefunpartofthejob,"saysWoitschach."Butnomatterwhathappens,themainthingisthatthelecturesrunsmoothly."Andthisiswhatthecaretakersensure-everyday.

Author:JenniferRuske

Filmaboutthecaretakersdailywork