Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2008

Maintenance aplenty for district

The parking lot at Baldwin High School was one of the major maintenance projects that took place in the school district this summer.

The parking lot at Baldwin High School was one of the major maintenance projects that took place in the school district this summer.

July 31, 2008

Parking lots, windows, playgrounds, lockers and security systems are just a few of the items being improved this summer in the Baldwin School District.

All six of the schools have had some sort of maintenance work done to them during the summer. Some have seen more work, but all in all, the district has remained active.

"It's been a very busy summer maintenance wise," Supt. Paul Dorathy said. "We were able to get a lot of things done. I think we've gotten quite a bit of maintenance done this summer and will probably have quite a bit more done before school starts. It's been a good summer."

Some of the more noticeable improvements can be seen in the parking lots of district buildings. The largest upgrade was the replacement of the main Baldwin High School parking lot, which is also used for events at Baldwin Junior High School.

Cynde Frick, director of financial operations in the district, has remained busy bidding many of the summer projects. She said the parking lot improvements have been the largest as the bid came in at $198,925. That was funded out of the Capital Outlay fund.

"The asphalt bid was the biggest," Frick said. "That covered virtually every school, other than the primary center and the district office. We sealed the intermediate center parking lot and we're going to be sealing Vinland. They're going to be doing the playground at Marion Springs. All of the junior high and the road between the junior high and high school are done. Then, of course, the high school lot was fully replaced."

Not only was the BHS parking lot replaced, it also looks much different than before. The parking lines are no longer perpendicular to the lot, but instead they are angled. That is just one of the measures to help the flow of traffic.

The other major change is the "enter only" and "exit only" sections of the parking lot. The two ways to enter are from the south and the exit is located at the northeast corner of the parking lot.

"As part of a safety issue, the administration, when we had the opportunity to realign the parking lot, changed the flow of traffic in that parking lot," Dorathy said. "They did it to keep kids safe in the busing areas and to prevent accidents. You can enter near the building or by the junior high gym and you will have to come out on Eisenhower at the northeast corner of the parking lot.

"That should keep the flow of traffic away from where the buses line up everyday and through the parking lot," he said. "It might slow the traffic down in the parking lot, but we're not so sure that's a bad thing. But it should make the whole system a bit safer."

A new sidewalk was also laid north of BHS. Frick said it was put down for fire code reason, because several classrooms have access to the north side of the building.

Other improvements that have already been completed or are nearing completion include windows, computers and a few small issues. Marion Springs Elementary School received the window upgrade this summer.

"We are replacing single-pane windows at Marion Springs with double-pane windows," Frick said. "That's happening right now."

The technology group in the district needed to replace a computer lab at BJHS and a lease was signed to make that possible.

"Every year, the technology group comes up with the list of what they need," Frick said. "What they focused on this time was a lab at the junior high. So, they entered a three-year lease earlier in July for around $44,000."

The other small issues came at BHS and BJHS, especially in the district auditorium.

"We've also done a lot of work on faucets, sinks and electrical issues within the district," Dorathy said. "We've done some electrical work at the auditorium. We replaced some circuits there, because we were having problems with breakers tripping there.

"We've replaced some drinking fountains, too," he said. "All of the drinking fountains at the high school are now operational. We were struggling there before."

While those projects have been completed, many others are being bid out right now and should be finished before school starts Aug. 14. Some of those projects include fencing around the BJHS air conditioning units, new student lockers and security systems.

"We have no exterior cameras right now with this system," Dorathy said. "I think we'll be adding cameras outside the building and in the parking lot. The same kind of thing will be added at the junior high, but it has no cameras right now. We'll be putting cameras in the building and outside the building, which will help alleviate some vandalism problems that we've had in the past."

Frick said BHS and BJHS will now be in a cycle to replace old lockers.

"We are currently bidding on lockers and this will probably transpire over Christmas break," Frick said. "We're looking at starting to replace lockers in kind of a cycle at the high school and then at the junior high."

Another future project might include replacing mulch at Vinland Elementary School as part of a grant.

"We've got a grant through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to replace the playground mulch at Vinland," Frick said. "Right now, it's just the wooden mulch, but we're going to take it out and replace it with the rubber mulch. It should last significantly longer. The state will match 50 percent up to $10,000. I'm waiting to hear back on that and then we'll move on that. We're starting at one school to kind of see how it goes. They've had this grant for a couple of years, so hypothetically, if it continues, we could look at doing it at another school."

The final piece of maintenance that has been done this summer is painting. Dorathy said every building has seen some sort of work done.

"We've had painters throughout the district this summer," Dorathy said. "We've had quite a bit of painting done in almost every building in the district. I think they told me today that they will complete every painting request on their list within the week."

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