Students may be on summer break, but there is a beehive of activity happening at local schools.
Facilities department workers with the Leavenworth school district are busy doing a variety of cleaning and maintenance tasks in buildings throughout the district.
Matt Dedeke, director of facilities for the Leavenworth school district, said crews are busy working through a long punch list of chores.
He said some of the top punch list items this summer are replacing rooftop air conditioning units at Warren Middle School, parking lot improvements at Warren and Leavenworth High School and replacing exterior doors and windows at Warren. Another big project is work on the intercom, fire and clock systems at Warren.
Numerous safety inspections are also taking place on equipment in each of the district’s buildings, including fire protection and security.
He said much of the summer work involves systems maintenance and ensuring that those systems are functioning properly.
Workers are also doing extensive cleaning in the buildings to include all surfaces such as desk, door knobs, lockers, floors and more.
“People don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes during the summer,” said Tony Brimeyer, custodial coordinator.
Dedeke compared the work of the facilities department to a backstage crew of a theater production. The audience never sees the backstage crew in action, but the results of their work is apparent when the curtain comes up.
“We’re in the background but we make a huge impact,” he said.
Dedeke said approximately 80% of local residents never step inside any of the school district’s buildings, so outside work is important to ensure local residents that the district is being good stewards of the public properties with which they are charged.
“Curb appeal pays dividends,” Dedeke said. “It shows we are taking care of the investment that the community asks us to maintain.”
Dedeke said a big piece of their summer work is to ensure that all of the buildings are safe when students and staff return to school in the fall.
Dave Stokka, grounds coordinator, said numerous work orders fall under his watch, to include testing the hardest of the synthetic playing surface at Pioneer Stadium, playground inspections, mowing lawns, mulching flower beds and more.
“With the weather this year, we are extremely flexible,” he said.
Dedeke said the facilities department is, at its core, a service entity, and that members of the division are certified, seasoned professionals in their area of expertise.
Dedeke said summer is the perfect time to perform work in district buildings because there are far fewer people in the buildings.
“This is our opportunity, in the summer, to give kids the safest, cleanest educational environment possible when they come back to school in the fall,” Dedeke said.
He said there are about 50 full-time crew members working on tasks this summer.