Summer maintenance of schools in full swing

From major remodels to window-blinds replacements, maintenance projects will affect every school in School District 51 in some way this summer.

About three-quarters of the $1.76 million budgeted in 2010–11 for capital projects in District 51 buildings will be spent this summer, when students are gone, and mess and noise aren’t a detriment to the learning environment.

Grand Junction High School will get the most expensive makeover this summer. The school’s aging stage rigging and lighting system is as old as the high school and was becoming a safety concern, according to District 51 Construction Projects Coordinator Eric Nilsen. The project costs “in excess of $200,000,” he said.

The district is replacing bleachers at Mount Garfield Middle School because the existing bleachers are hard to pull out or collapse.

Orchard Mesa Middle School is getting new lockers, some of which had been brought to the school from other schools at the time it was built.

“They were getting to be where they were unserviceable,” Nilsen said.

Most of the projects are funded through the district’s capital-projects fund, but a couple are being paid for through alternative sources. A grant is paying for the nearly $10,000 remodel of a former home economics room at Redlands Middle School. The room will house a middle school and high school program for students with severe autism.

Leftover American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money will pay for walkways and a modular unit outside The Career Center this summer in preparation for a new program for 18- to 21-year-old students with cognitive impairments. The modular will host a program called InSTEPS, short for Individual Student-Centered Transition Employment Program Services.

The program will begin with eight to 10 students who will learn everything from how to get a job to how to ride the Grand Valley Transit bus to work.

Other projects this summer include painting, small remodels to accommodate student needs, roofing, carpeting, window replacements, and replacements of small items such as window blinds and chalkboards.

There’s a little less work to be done this summer than last summer, Nilsen said, because money set aside from the 2004 bond issue for maintenance ran out last summer.

He said there could be fewer projects next year, too.


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