CK school work continues

“How to paint the Brooklyn Bridge: Start at one end Jan.1, keep painting, when finished at the other end, Dec. 31, go back to the beginning and start again...”

— said by anonymous Brooklyn Bridge painter, early 1900s.

A school district — schools, school buildings, restrooms, walkways, driveways, parking lots, roofs — is not a static collection of objects.

There’s a never-ending task of repair and upgrading.

Richard Best, director of construction, facilities and maintenance, and Ladd Stejskal, manager of facilities planning, recently gave a progress report to the CK School Board on eight major school improvements — and their costs — as of Dec. 31.

Certain proposed improvements were unusual. Sports turf from Germany (laid-down on only one other campus in North America) is being considered for Olympic High.

Best and Stejskal made their report at the regular Jan. 8 board meeting. When asked a few days after the meeting to describe “an average day in the life of a maintenance worker,” Best laughed a bit and said:

“I have one worker who’s the roofer and window replacer — that’s all he does, all year, full time.” He said the district put more workers on roofing projects over the summer to reroof eight buildings in a once-only project that, hopefully, won’t have to be repeated for a while.

“I have one full-time plumber whose only job is to keep the pipes flushing and fresh water flowing,” he said. “I have five heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) techs in the department, working every day.

“Our energy demands have become critical — supplying enough energy and outlets to a room to handle all the computers,” he said. Best recalled a conversation he had with a builder 20 years ago. Apparently, at the time, the architect called for two electrical outlets for one classroom.

“The builder came to me and asked, ‘what’s the second outlet for?’”

A more recent dilemma occurred at Silverdale Elementary when staff there wanted to move the computer center from a portable to the library, inside the 20-year-old school.

“We had a heck of a time getting enough power to that library. It turned into a major effort” even though it was a fairly modern school.

Tracyton and Brownsville elementaries have portions of their facilities dating to the 1940s and 1950s. They can be a challenge, he said. Even newer schools built in the last 20 years or last decade are rapidly aging and facilities are becoming obsolete.

By their very nature, schools receive hard use.

“Our annual utility bill is $1.5 million,” said Best. “That includes electricity, water, gas, garbage collection and telephones. This out of a $90 million annual budget.” There are about 13,000 full-time equivalency (FTE) students in the district.

The following are the major projects — some completed, some ongoing:

l Completed CK High school facade renovation and boiler pipe repairs: Consultant cost, $244,384. Construction cost, $1.5 million.

l Reroofing at CKHS and JP: Consultant, $161,414. Project, $1.7 million.

l Special Ed additions at Cougar Valley and Clear Creek elementaries. Consultant only, $437,246.

l Reroofing of Clear Creek, CK Junior High’s roof on its new gym, minor roof repairs at Green Mountain and Cougar Valley elementaries, and Ridgetop Junior High and Tracyton Elementary. Consultant, $107,003. Construction, nearly $1 million.

l Cottonwood Elementary modernization, Phase II: Consultant, $135,172.

l Stadium turf: Turf Steering Committee’s “Mark Keel and Kevin Cummings have volunteered to make (the trip) to (Pennsylvania) review the product,” said Best.

l Best and Stejskal said the school district’s phone system, though only a decade old, is outdated and difficult to maintain. Parts are no longer available and it’s not compatible with newer systems. It will have to be replaced. No cost estimates were presented. The project will go out to bid and is expected to be finished by summer 2003.

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