Schools do repairs, construction while students are gone

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Work is progressing Monday where the media center will be situated at the new East Elementary School in Jackson. (Fred Lynch)

With most buildings empty or sparsely populated, it's prime time for school districts or universities to work on upkeep or even new construction.

The River Campus expansion is moving toward completion at Southeast Missouri State University; Jackson continues building East Elementary School at 455 N. Lacey St.; and the Cape Girardeau School District is tending to its 10


Southeast projects

At Southeast, projects are always ongoing. The exterior steps east of the boiler plant and related sidewalks at the university closed for construction Monday, and pedestrian traffic will be directed through Brandt Hall. Construction is scheduled for completion in

Construction is continuing Monday on the new East Elementary School at 455 N. Lacey St. in Jackson. (Fred Lynch)


The estimated cost is about $1.6 million, and the contractor is Kiefner Brothers of Cape Girardeau, said Angela Meyer, director of facilities management, in an email to the Southeast Missourian.

Zoellner Construction is building developmental math labs this summer at Memorial Hall. Work began April 14 that will result in a 2,600-square-foot math classroom with 60 computer stations, an 842-square-foot math tutoring center with 13 computer stations and a 447-square-foot math breakout room adjoining the math classroom, according to the university.

Construction at the River Campus will add 184 beds and more than 93,000 square feet, including a dance floor, a choral rehearsal studio and other learning areas. Work by contractor River City Construction of Peoria, Illinois, is expected to be finished in July. The new space will be open for use by fall.

Jackson's new school

Wade Bartels, associate superintendent finance/business operations at Jackson public schools, said the district's largest and newest construction project is East Elementary School. The prekindergarten through fifth-grade campus, financed with $16 million in bonds, is expected to be finished in spring 2015.

Jackson's maintenance crew of 10 people tends to 13 sites. Typically, the district hires 15 temporary employees to help, Bartels said in an email.

Some annual projects include classroom painting, waxing classrooms and building floors, refinishing gym floors, mowing and landscaping, general cleaning and computer upgrades, Bartels said in an email.

Additional work includes roof repairs at West Lane and Orchard elementary schools, flooring repairs, and electrical and concrete work.

Technology updates, such as additional devices for students and upgrading wireless infrastructure, also are on the docket, Bartels said.

Other projects will be finished this summer, including flooring repair, electrical and concrete work. The cost for general summer projects is included in the maintenance and custodial budget.

Cape upkeep

Thanks to a $40 million bond issue passed in 2010, the Cape Girardeau School District has been able to go from deferred to preventive maintenance, said Neil Glass, assistant superintendent of administrative services,

"This is our peak season right now," Glass said. "We try to get a lot done in two and a half months."

Most of the maintenance efforts center on heating and air conditioning, installing new playground equipment at Jefferson and Alma Schrader elementary schools, asphalt sealing and mowing, he said.

Facilities coordinator Chris Jauch has 10 members on his crew. He said his guys spend a lot of time maintaining heating and air-conditioning equipment. Glass said the district heats and cools close to 1 million square feet.

"It's a very time-consuming process with as much stuff as we have," Jauch said.

Glass said four temporary staff members were hired, primarily for mowing and groundskeeping.

"They do anything from picking up trash, to trimming trees, to mowing the grass," he said.

For the first time this summer, Glass said the district will apply asphalt sealant to parking lots using its own employees and equipment. This has to be done every few years so water doesn't seep into the cracks. The asphalt also will be striped for parking spaces.

Each of the 10 campuses has its own custodial team that strips, waxes and buffs floors. There also is a small paint crew for touch-ups.

"So by the time school starts, those floors are pretty much shining," Glass said.

Cleanup in Chaffee

In Chaffee, Missouri, voters approved a $2.9 million bond issue in April to fund construction of two storm-safe classrooms at the elementary school and an addition to the high school industrial arts shop; repair and replace roofs at the high school and elementary school; and upgrade lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at both schools. The bonds did not require a tax increase.

With excess funds, the district wants to replace bleachers for the gymnasium and football field and finish other renovations and repairs to district facilities. Superintendent Ken Latham said roof renovations have started.

McKinstry, a full-service firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services, has been selected as construction manager for Chaffee.

Typically in the summer, custodians strip and wax the floors; wipe down and sanitize all the desks, chairs and furniture; and clean out the air-conditioning units and replace ones that are not working properly, Latham said.

Chaffee has three custodians each at the high school and elementary school and one full-time maintenance person and a part-time assistant in the district.


Pertinent address: 301 N. Clark Ave.

One University Plaza

614 E. Adams St., Jackson

517 West Yoakum, Chaffee, Missouri

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