Schools addressing maintenance needs
Workers install new HVAC systems over the summer as part of a school-wide maintenance initiative, which has been ongoing. The school system has proposed $16.6 million to cover future fix-ups.
During last summer’s school-wide maintenance project, the school system addressed several issues including roof leaks, broken lockers and old HVAC units. However, at the Dec. 10 meeting Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations David Myers said there is still some work to do that was not taken care of this summer.
“We’re going to replace what we have to and continue to repair,” Myers said.
Maintenance staff went around and patched up a number of roof leaks at schools including Patrick Henry High School and Elmont Elementary School. Currently there is not enough money budgeted for full roof replacements, he added.
Mold has been another common issue in several schools. Myers said it is common for old schools to have mold problems when it’s hot and moisture gets into the buildings. His staff addressed issues at Patrick Henry High School where they sucked out the infected air and filled the entire facility with fresh air. They also disinfected every part of the school this summer.
“We are very aggressive with attacking this,” Myers said.
When the next summer rolls around, Myers said he and his staff will go to Lee-Davis High School and perform the same procedure, because in the past the school has had moisture problems. At the moment, they cannot tell whether it has mold or not because it is too cold out and can’t be detected.
Myers said the proposed total cost of maintenance for all schools is $16.6 million.
“We think that amount of capital funding will keep the buildings safe and attractive,” Myers said.
The facilities study is three-fold. The first part was done fairly early on where school officials studied the capacity of each building. School capacity had not been studied since 2007.
Another aspect, which is not yet finished, is figuring out how many chairs are needed in each classroom by assessing student enrollment and growth. Myers said Hanover schools have seen a slow decline in enrollment, but he pointed out that more houses are being built in the county.
School officials are assessing growth by analyzing patterns to pick out spots of growth that have occurred or may in the future, which could help with enrollment projections. Myers said one of the targets is older neighborhoods where older citizens may be moving out and younger residents moving in. They are working with county planning staff as well as other officials to help with the projections.
“This is all an effort to project where students are coming from and how we can use our buildings better,” Myers said.
Myers said that with the current growth patterns he does not think any new schools would need to be built.
Originally the school system estimated a price of $180 million to repair its facilities, which would have included more intense renovations such getting the electrical service up to code and repairing windows to be more efficient. However, Myers said when they met with county officials to discuss costs, those officials said the proposed amount would be unrealistic.
The proposed $16.6 million will cover repairs such as the aforementioned ones but over a period of time, if it is incorporated into the capital improvement plan.
“This doesn’t renovate the buildings,” he said.
The board must approve the proposed maintenance list, then the Superintendent will devise a capital improvement plan. If the school board OKs that plan, it will go onto the board of supervisors for a final decision.
“We try to make sure folks who need to get the data, get it,” Myers said.
Each school board meeting, Myers will bring more information concerning the school-wide facilities study to the board. In January, the board will decide what and how issues need to be addressed.