7/31/15 EDUCATION RENOVATION
Photos by Sam Roberts / Times-News
Above, Jerome Price, with Production Painting of Raleigh, covers a white board Thursday in preparation for painting inside a classroom at Newlin Elementary School in Burlington. The entire interior of the school is getting a fresh coat of paint.
Crews use summer vacation to update maintenance on school buildings
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 7/31/15
Reprinted with permission.
With less than a month to go before traditional-calendar schools start, there is a lot of work to do in Alamance-Burlington Schools.
“This is probably the busiest summer we’ve had,” said Jay Fuller, director of facilities maintenance with school system.
Some administrators and staff are in schools now. Lawrence Conte, principal at Newlin Elementary School, was pulling a big yellow rolling trashcan and push broom around Newlin’s ground floor Thursday, while contractors got ready to paint the hall and all the classrooms with their desks piled in the middle of the rooms and draped in plastic.
THE DISTRICT IS making its way through more than $1 million worth of work at about 10 schools, painting, fixing roofs and, at Williams High School, removing asbestos and upgrading the once gloomy ground floor.
“It was like a dungeon,” Fuller said.
This summer contractors removed about 22,000 square feet of asbestos floor tiles and pipe insulation from the ground floor. Afterward, the district had painting done and new lights put in.
The new lights are LED, Fuller said. A refund from Duke Energy of about $9,000 made them no more expensive than fluorescents, but they are brighter, cooler and use less power. They also don’t have the lead ballasts in fluorescent light fixtures that are difficult and expensive to get rid of.
The ground floor was originally for vocational classes, Russell said, and was never updated when it was converted to regular classrooms. It was dark and in need of a lot of improvement .
“The lighting before was approximately half what we have in here now,” said Jimmy Russell, Assistant director of facilities maintenance. “The paint was peeling — it was an embarrassment.”
As big a job as it is, it’s coming in about two weeks ahead of schedule.
This is phase five of the Williams asbestos removal, Russell said. The only asbestos left is in the auditorium, which will be a big job and definitely not on the list this year.
NEWLIN ELEMENTARY School did not have asbestos but needed a coat of paint. On Thursday, the halls upstairs already had fresh white paint with a red stripe running along the wall. The downstairs still had the different-colored stripes along the walls to let people know where they are in the building, Fuller guessed, and a few rooms with teacher-created murals.
Once Newlin is done, the paint crews can join the ones working on Cummings High School, Fuller said.
Besides these big projects, there will be exceptional children’s classrooms in some new schools this year, and Fuller and Russell have been busy setting those up. There are also loads of new playground mulch, carpet to remove and tile to replace, and some things they did not see coming.
“We’ve got a list of things that have to be done in the summer,” Russell said, “and only a little window to do it.”
Asbestos was removed from the floor tiles and pipes on the east and west wings of the ground floor at Williams High School in Burlington. New tile will be installed and new LED lighting has already been put up.