Work crews stay busy at schools during summer months

Mark Rountree
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is an aerial photo of the new Pioneer Sports Complex, one of several projects underway this summer for the USD 453 school district.

School may be out of session for students in the Leavenworth school district, but the summer months are a prime time for crews in the Facilities Department to get down to work.

Matt Dedeke, director of the Facilities Department at USD 453, said there are numerous punch list items that will be completed in the next couple of months.

“COVID placed our facilities teams in a holding pattern focused on sanitizing our buildings daily which took away from some of the detail cleanings we like to stay on top of,” Dedeke said. “This is our time to get the entire building clean.”

Punch list items include the construction of a new bus lane at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School, which is underway in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion around the school when children are let out during end-of-day dismissal.

The summer work also includes the completion of construction and playground equipment at the Earl Lawson Early Education Center, as well as final furniture delivery and moving in of all staff items.

Construction crews work to frame a new doorway to the newly designed library collaboration area at David Brewer Elementary School.

Collaboration spaces are being created at Brewer, Anthony and Henry Leavenworth elementary schools to support the modeling from early childhood education through the high school level.

“These projects include the removal of some interior walls adjacent to the libraries to provide areas for students and teachers to research, explore and conduct hands-on activities,” Dedeke said.

The new Pioneer Sports Complex is nearing completion. Dedeke said the four-field baseball and softball complex, south of Warren Middle School, will be fully operational next season.

Dedeke said the summer work will also include sound and lighting upgrades at the high school auditorium and concrete replacement at Warren Middle School entrances.

Upgrading internal radio systems to support districtwide communication is also on the agenda.

“Previously, radios were limited to schools as they operated on a small range,” Dedeke said. “The new system will allow communications across the district.”

He said the new system will provide weather updates to selected radios.

“This system will supplement any needs for district communication during events such as crisis situations to quarantine and limited access as related to the pandemic,” he said.

Shown is a newly designed collaboration area at Anthony Elementary School.

He said the Technology Department is rolling out new network equipment.

“These improvements will update equipment and provide a reliable network system to support both in-school and remote needs,” he said.

Dedeke said this is in addition to rolling out three grade levels of Chromebooks as part of a technology replacement plan.

“This is not our normal year,” Dedeke said. “We have pivoted, adjusted and rolled with the needs of our buildings in an effort to support our students. It has been amazing to watch our Facilities, Technology and Child Nutrition teams work together all year and into the summer to complete what we normally do. The attitude of our staff has been positive and ready to tackle the next challenge.”