Sheri Samson
Sanding and painting of the junior high gym were one of many improvements made to local schools over the summer.

While students and most school staff members were gone for the summer break, the Mineral County School District Maintenance Department jumped into a variety of special projects to better the school experience once the masses return on Aug. 21.

Maintenance Director, Tom Gallegos, sat down to review the many items accomplished over the busy summer of improvements while deciphering the funding sources for each project.

There were three roofs repaired and completed within the high school building, maintenance and warehouse structures, which was funded by capital improvement money.

Many locations were freshened up with paint, such as the sports team field house, bleachers in the field house and sections of the Junior High School hallways, which included the efforts of the school’s own custodial employees, April Brogden and Marilyn Duncan.

All the Hawthorne Elementary School doors were sanded and painted, with corresponding numbering systems which will allow an easier direction system within the squared-off building sections. Several classrooms in all schools were re-painted with a few extra summer hires, as well as those that volunteered to lend a hand.

With intricate thought and using in-house labor, the Junior High School Gym was sanded and “poly-painted” to look like glass. The school district saved tremendously on normal labor fees had this project been sent out to bid and yet the results speak for themselves. This was mainly completed by a 3-man crew who worked diligently over one week. The high school floors were also buffed and waxed to shine for the upcoming foot traffic as the 2017-18 year unfolds.

Gallegos had so many cost-saving items completed within his budget, his maintenance funds allowed the purchase of 14 rooms across the school district to be carpet-tiled in areas that were in desperate need of new flooring. The carpet tiles will allow maintenance workers to remove one damaged tile in the future, rather than an entire room of flooring to be replaced.

My goal and that of my staff are to work smarter by thinking of the long-term betterment and safety, rather than putting temporary fixes out there. We don’t need to require more manpower and repeated spending over again if we do it smart the first time,” Gallegos admitted.

Schurz Elementary School had sustained earthquake damage, with structure leaks and wall cracks receiving repair this summer, through the Pool Pact insurance agreements. Also in relationship to insurance-paid repairs, Gallegos reported that the Sixth Street building has been properly repaired to the way it was four years ago before sustaining damage to the roof, stating, “that building is turn-key now.”

Public works assisted with the front access points in front of the district office to the high school, removing erosional ruts caused by the recent, extreme downpours. Pot holes and basic parking areas became a safety issue, so the county assisted with this street maintenance situation.

With long-range goals; well-planned procedures; time-sensitive coordination and an excellent summer staff, Gallegos felt that his group overshot the normal workload of any previous time frame, taking on some larger projects alongside their regular workload. With an annual staff of three, adding two summer helpers allowed the exterior and interior projects to be checked-off in an efficient manner. Gallegos also included appreciation to all the site custodial workers for chipping in and making each location ready for opening day. The school board will be presenting certificates of appreciation to those that dedicated their efforts over the summer months.