DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

July 11, 2013

Summer school maintenance projects underway

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — School’s out, but the classroom work continues.

That includes putting fresh coats of paint on interior walls and making sure school buildings are cared for while students enjoy summer vacation.

Derry and Londonderry school districts each have their own lists of what projects need to get done while school buildings are empty.

In Derry, it’s all about trying to save money but do the job.

School district Business Administrator Jane Simard said the district is trying to be frugal.

She said every summer schools submit a list of projects they would like to see done.

Simard and other staff do a typical walk-thru of the district’s facilities to also gauge what work might be needed most.

“We make a repair list of what we will do at the schools,” she said. “The majority of the work being requested at schools will be painting.”

That painting will be done mostly by an in-house custodial staff, Simard said, helping save money by not hiring a large number of summer workers.

“We only hired a handful of college students who are back,” she said. “We’re working on a lot less staff.”

Those college students will also help with painting, lawn work and will also work in the district’s warehouse moving furniture and other classroom items into the schools.

Many classrooms change over the course of a year too, Simard said, so the college workers will be kept busy.

“That’s been really helpful,” she said. “A lot of work is being done moving classrooms.”

In Londonderry, summer jobs include the basic upkeep and new paint but also some extra security measures voters approved in March.

Voters agreed to spend $170,000 to keep students safer.

The plan includes upgrading school security by adding a district-wide card access system, training and door monitoring/sensor systems.

School district Business Administrator Peter Curro said that 90 percent of that work should be done by the time the new year starts in August.

On the other hand, voters said no to spending $4.5 million on major school upgrades and construction at the polls in March.

But residents did approve a $300,000 maintenance fund article to help support the smaller scale renovations that won’t cost as much.

Those smaller projects in Londonderry now top the district’s list.

Curro said projects needing the most attention are roof repairs at the middle school and gymnasium floor work at North Elementary School.

Other larger jobs are now on hold, Curro said, due to lack of funding.

“Some are pushed back for several years,” he said.

Curro said district officials hoped to do some major work including a roof project at Londonderry Middle School and paving at Matthew Thornton Elementary School. Instead, they will settle for replacing the gym floor at North School and doing a minor roofing project at the high school.

Those projects and other smaller renovations will cost about $500,000, Curro said.

Construction costs don’t get any cheaper. Curro said the Matthew Thornton paving project has already been put on hold for four years. Costs keep going up.

It’s the district’s roofs that really are cause for concern. Officials keep tight watch over the facilities and buildings, and roof jobs always top the wish list.

Simard said the Derry schools are already hopping with summer maintenance projects.

“The schools will be very busy,” she said.

Once jobs are completed they will be marked off the master list. Simard said. She will then report back to the School Board with updates throughout the summer.