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How is it even possible to clean 425,000 square feet daily? The St. Michael-Albertville High School Case Study in Cleaning Innovation

Have you ever visited your Grandparent’s home and felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and belonging? Whenever you visit you are able to relax in a welcoming environment.

A clean building is very similar to the familiar feeling of visiting your grandparent’s home on a Sunday afternoon; it's ever-present in the background, but you can't quite put your finger on why it is so nice.

The facilities that we frequent the most are typically the cleanest. We don’t notice that anything is amiss unless we walk in and the floor is caked with dirt or the bathroom has toilet paper littering the floor.

Cleaning crews that work behind the scenes are responsible for every immaculate facility that we visit, laboring day and night to provide a building that we can enjoy.


A 425,000 Square-Foot Building with a Limited Crew

It’s no small task to clean a high school with state-of-the-art facilities that host sporting events, theater performances, and other activities for 2,000 students. St. Michael-Albertville High School in Minnesota has 425,000 square feet of floor that must be cleaned daily. When frigid snow storms roll in and blanket the ground during cold Minnesota winters, students track in dirt and grime, muddying the facility.

Rick Pool is the supervisor responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of St. Michael-Albertville. How does he accomplish such a tall order with such limited time? Pool does it by working side-by-side with the help of automated cleaning technology, the Nilfisk Liberty SC50.

The Life of Janitor, Rick Pool, before the Nilfisk SC50 Liberty

Before using the Nilfisk Liberty SC50, Pool faced the daunting task of cleaning with a small custodial team. He would have to scrub the floor, gym, fieldhouse, fitness center, and many of the hallways and bathrooms. During this time, Pool was equipped with a traditional auto scrubber. Although he was able to cover a large surface area with this machine, he still had to constantly operate it, taking him away from other important tasks.

This hamstrung Pool’s ability to clean the entire facility. “I wouldn’t have enough time to maintain clean entryways and hallways. Often, I wouldn’t be able to clean the entire fieldhouse, so I’d just do the perimeters where people come in,” Pool recounts. With his old process, Pool was limited to a rotating schedule. He would clean the fieldhouse on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and would focus on the gym and hallways on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Why the Nilfisk Liberty SC50 Makes Cleaning Easier

The Nilfisk doesn’t just scrub at high speed, it has changed the entire cleaning experience for St. Michael-Albertville High School.

According to Nilfisk:

“The autonomous scrubber dryer features three modes for cleaning in various environments:


  • CopyCat: The operator programs the cleaning path by performing a single manual ride-through, and then the machine flawlessly replicates the path for subsequent cleanings.
  • Fill-in: The operator rides once around the perimeter of the site to be cleaned, and then the machine fills in the middle.
  • Manual: The operator uses the machine like any other scrubber dryer to perform manual and ad hoc cleaning tasks (e.g., picking up spills).”

 Nilfisk SC50

The Nilfisk Liberty SC50 (photo credit Nilfisk).


Reading over these features, it quickly becomes apparent why St. Michael-Albertville was the first high school in the country to use the Liberty SC50:

  • The machine can clean for your crew while they focus on other pressing areas and spots that need attention. This has saved countless hours for Pool and his crew.
  • In the current labor market, there are plenty of staffing shortages, and it is challenging to find and train employees that are equipped to clean massive buildings like St. Michael-Albertville.
  • The Nilfisk Liberty SC50 significantly bolsters the efforts of custodial staff by picking up any slack and loose ends. Its features help you save money on labor and training and magnify the work of your staff.

Pool loves how the Nilfisk has transformed his job, helping make his cleaning more efficient and comprehensive. The Liberty cleans a hallway in about half of the time it used to take me. With the autonomous scrubber, we’re able to better maintain the floors not only in my area but across the entire school,” Pool describes.



Look at the cleaning protocol for your building. Have you gotten stuck in an inefficient routine that no longer makes sense? Do you have a hard time keeping your janitorial crew fully staffed? Do you have to make tradeoffs between maintaining your facility, and cleaning different areas on different days to make ends meet?

If yes, you would benefit from a more efficient auto scrubber like the Nilfisk SC50 Liberty. It won’t just fit into your existing cleaning plan; it will reinvent it.

The information in this post is taken from and based on the article Nilfisk Autonomous Scrubber Dryer Makes the Grade: How the Nilfisk Liberty SC50 supports custodial staff at St. Michael-Albertville High School, published by Nilfisk.


Interested in learning more about the Nilfisk SC50 Liberty? Call (763) 218-9915 to set up a site survey and demonstration.

You can also register for a webinar on robotic floor cleaning here.

JanSan, general cleaning


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