SHS continues grounds improvements despite budget crisis

June 7, 2010 — by Karthik Sreedhara

Replacing decrepit water fountains, planting gardens and installing new cabinetry in the cafeteria are among the myriad of improvements the school’s maintenance staff has been busy working on this year, and students around campus have taken notice.

Just last month, the school installed new wooden cabinets, funded by the PTSO, in the cafeteria to replace the old trophy case, which has been moved to the gym lobby. According to plant operations supervisor Brian Moran, the main reason for this change was to increase storage space.

“They put out a lot of luncheons and they are putting on a breakfast for teachers next week,” said Moran. That 60-foot cabinet is variable to house a lot of the stuff that they use.”

The school also installed four new water fountains throughout the school last month—two drinking fountains and two bottle-fillers located in the cafeteria and the gym lobby.

“The old fountains probably date back to the original drinking fountains installed when the school was first built,” Moran said. “They didn’t operate well. These ones are accessible to disabiled students because they have a low and a high one for students in wheelchairs.”

Students generally have liked the new water fountains.

“The new fountains are worth it because the old ones were too out of date,” said junior Deepak Sabada. “I like that the new ones have clean, filtered water all the time.”

Moran said this renovation process will continue for many years.

“It’s such a big campus that we’re really never going to finish the renovation work,” he said. “It’s an ongoing process.”

A new garden and several planter boxes were installed in the 200-wing, which will primarily be used for activities in the special education classes. Maintenance staff also poured new concrete walkways near these gardens and in front of the school. And in an effort to conserve energy and lower the school’s energy bill, occupancy sensors were installed in the music rooms, where the lights will now turn off when no movement is detected in a room.

Moran and several others met this month to discuss their accomplishments in the recent months and their plans for future renovation work during the summer.

They plan to do some landscaping in front of the McAfee Theater and install several benches around the school. Also, they plan to renovate the trainers’ room and install a cover above the batting cages for use during the rain.

Moran said his crew tries to do as much of the work they can themselves, but they also hire outside contractors.

“The overarching goal of these projects is student safety and beautification—those are the two things we always have in mind,” said Moran. “We try to create a safe and beautiful environment for students, teachers and parents. We also need to maintain what we have here and also utilize the resources that the school has, to the best of our abilities.”

Despite all the work that has been going on, he said the district’s budget crisis has also had a large impact on their work. After longtime custodian Adam Jordan retired earlier this year, the district did not hire a replacement. Also, there will be less funds allotted for some anticipated summer work, according to Moran.

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