Utah school district employees prepare for 1st day of class

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Administrators are racing to finish cleaning, fixing and upgrading buildings ahead of most Utah public schools starting a new academic year this week, a difficult task that includes scraping gum off of desks, sprucing up playing fields and finishing summer construction projects.

Crews work through extensive to-do lists that include full-blown renovation projects, carpet cleaning, scouring hard-water deposits from water fountains, waxing multipurpose room floors, painting, scrubbing lockers and washing windows.

Many deep-cleaning projects cannot be accomplished with students, staff and faculty in the building. The same can be said for lighting upgrades or heating, ventilation and air conditioning installations, as well as improvements to lawn watering systems. All of these projects are intended to improve school climate and comfort and save energy and water, the Deseret News reported (http://bit.ly/2vV57Y5 ).

Some major maintenance jobs — such as roofing projects or intensive cleaning of fan rooms and air ducts for heating and cooling systems — are conducted during the summer break for health and safety reasons, Granite School District Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Don Adams said.

“We just really like to get in there and get that years’ worth of wear off of our schools,” Adams said.

Information technology teams are busy alongside painters and plumbers as they run cable and fiber, install routers and make other improvements as teachers, students and administrators become increasingly reliant on technology. “They are just in there updating technology left, right and center,” Adams said.

The weeks that schools are out of session are also an opportunity to address work orders that could not be completed during the school year, he said.

Granite District’s 94 schools generate about 56,000 work orders a year, which might range from a minor paint job to a systems upgrade or other work that is “just too dirty or noisy” to complete during the school year, Adams said.

In the end, every school employee, whether a classroom teacher or school maintenance worker, is there for the kids, Adams said.

“At Granite, we believe every student can achieve a high level of learning,” he said. “No matter their circumstances, we are positive each student can accomplish a high level of learning. That’s my ‘why.’ That’s why I get up in the morning and do what I do, is for those kids.”

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