Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2006

Schools not all quiet at break

Maintenance staff, construction crews stay busy with work

December 28, 2006

Although students and teachers are on vacation, Lansing schools are bustling with activity during the nearly two-week winter break.

Weather permitting, construction on the school district's $23.6 million voter-approved bond referendum projects will continue through the holidays, said Dale Bohannon, director of maintenance and capital improvement.

"It's moving right along," he said. "If the weather's good, they'll be working."

Permanent building permits are now in place for the projects, which include a new elementary school on West Mary Street and a new auditorium and band room at Lansing High School.

John Jacobson, community development superintendent for the city of Lansing, said McPherson Contractors picked up permanent building permits for the projects Dec. 18.

Until the permanent permits were in hand, the builder and its subcontractors could only perform foundation and grading work at the sites.

Meanwhile, many of the district's maintenance and custodial staff members are busy sprucing up the existing buildings while students and teachers are away.

"I try to encourage vacation time during the summer and during Christmas break, and some staff will do that, but our maintenance and custodial staff work through the break," Bohannon said.

Staff will take advantage of the empty buildings to perform regular maintenance.

"I've got a whole list of what we hope to accomplish during the Christmas break," Bohannon said. "It's just an old routine what-to-do list, like you keep at home. It's basically things that we're able to do when the classrooms are empty."

Windows are first on that list. Bohannon said the interior windows at the district's four schools would receive a thorough washing. Staff will scrub the exterior sides of the windows, weather permitting.

Many floors, Bohannon said, will be stripped and rewaxed. Scrubbing and buffing also are on the list, as well as painting touch ups in the hallways as needed.

Bohannon said the 21-member maintenance and custodial crew also would receive training during the winter break.

"I've got some training scheduled for my staff because it's hard to get them all together at one time. We do a two-hour asbestos refresher course," Bohannon said.

The winter break also provides an opportunity to update the classrooms with dry erase boards.

"We've been replacing chalkboards with white boards," he said. "We've got a system by which we glue the white board onto the chalk board. We do that over summer or Christmas break because there are some odors to the glue for a day or so. We've got a couple of rooms scheduled for that."

Bohannon said a small remodeling project would take place at Lansing High School with the addition of an interior window between the reception area and assistant principal Mike Bogard's office.

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