Repair budget cut this summer for School District 51
District 51 maintenance crews will complete about $840,000 worth of projects this summer.
Most of the district’s maintenance and operations projects are performed during the summer when schools are empty, allowing crews to work on larger portions of a building without posing a safety hazard or disrupting class with noise and detours.
Although maintenance projects are paid out of a capital fund separate from the district’s reduction-adled general fund, District 51 Maintenance and Operations Director Cal Clark said this summer’s maintenance funding is down as well. The district spent about $1.4 million on summer maintenance projects last year, by Clark’s estimate, and plans to spend $838,892 on projects this summer, plus a little more for sundry smaller items.
This summer’s most expensive tasks are roofing projects at Broadway, Orchard Avenue and Pomona elementary schools and a boiler system replacement project at Fruitvale Elementary School. Clark said the average age of the roofs atop Broadway, Orchard Avenue and Pomona is above 20 years old.
Fruitvale is getting 16 new rooftop heating and cooling units because the school had operated with a boiler system but the boiler began to leak in February. Given the boiler’s age, the district could not find a replacement part to fix the boiler, Clark said. Even if the part had been found, fixing the boiler would have required taking it apart.
“The time to dismantle and rebuild would have taken longer than a weekend. We probably would have had to close down that part of the school” if the boiler had been fixed during the school year, Clark said.
Maintenance workers also plan to remove vinyl asbestos tiles at Gateway School and perform a sewer upgrade project at Mount Garfield Middle School. Clark said the tile is not harmful unless someone drills into it and is only being removed because it is coming loose, but still has to be removed in a specialized manner. As for the sewer project, Clark said the project will be performed in conjunction with Clifton Sanitation Department and will help move sewage through the system faster so less hydrogen sulfide is produced in sewer pipes that stretch close to two miles from the school to Clifton Sanitation’s lagoons near the U.S. Highway 6 overpass just east of 33 Road.
The district will replace lighting fixtures on the stages at Central and Palisade high schools with LED lights, which use about one-tenth of the electricity consumed by conventional lights. Carpets will be replaced at Fruita Middle School and Appleton, Shelledy and Tope elementary schools, and Fruita will get a new gym floor, too. A natural gas-fired generator that broke down at Taylor Elementary School will be replaced.
Buildings around the district will have concrete walkways patched, including a project at Palisade High that will involve installation of a grate to keep water from pooling on the sidewalk. West Middle School will get a new ramp that provides wheelchair access between the school’s second floor and a pick-up and drop-off lane north of the school. New doors and frames are being ordered for various schools this summer, but will not be installed until a school needs one.