Even though it’s summertime for the Churchill County School District, there is no vacation time these days for Brian Byrd.
“It’s entertaining,” the district’s director of maintenance said, chuckling. “There’s never a dull day, that’s for sure.”
This is the time of year when classrooms are empty, of course, and many construction projects are now under way that will give teachers, students and parents some new looks when the first day of school arrives on Aug. 26. And that date isn’t too far off, as Byrd is well aware.
“The schedules are very compressed, but we’ve got some extremely talented people on these projects right now,” he said. “I just want to emphasize how everything is going and how on-time and under-budget these projects are and how the community should feel good how their bond dollars are being spent to rehabilitate a lot of these aging facilities.”
Projects are ongoing at each of Churchill County’s six campuses with work being funded with bond and building and sites money, he added. Paul Eskeldson, construction manager for Parsons Technology, presented an update on 2008 Construction Bond projects Thursday night to CCSD trustees at their regularly scheduled meeting.
“I think it’s going along great,” said Ron Evans, school board president. “It’s almost like juggling a whole bunch of different things with all the schools being under construction at one time. The guys, Paul and Brian are doing a great job of keeping everything on track to get the work done on time. It’s a big task, but so far it looks like everything is working according to plan,” Evans said.
Byrd pointed out the biggest project is an overhaul of the Minnie Blair Building at Churchill County High School.
“We’re renovating the inside to better utilize the space,” he said. “We are opening up the ROTC room, the cafeteria, the hallways, remodeling restrooms to become ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and allowing the office space to flow much more efficiently.”
Meanwhile, major changes are in store with a renovation at Northside Early Learning Center, where work is being done by Fallon-based Ferguson Construction.
“That’s where the public will most noticeably see where their bond dollars are being spent,” Byrd said. “(Northside is) getting a new roof and whole new exterior. That building really is going to shine. And the HVAC units, the maintenance guys have just done an amazing job of maintaining those units and extending their life expectancy, so it’s really good to see a full HVAC replacement on that building.”
Another significant change at Northside is relocation of its office to the front of the school to accommodate a single-point of entry. A similar change is also being made at Lahontan Elementary School, Byrd pointed out.
“When school first starts, the doors will be open and the kids can come and go and get to their class,” Evans said. “Then after that, everything will be locked down and you’ll have to come through the single point where the (office) secretary will check them in or out.”
Security is always foremost on any school administrator’s mind, Northside Principal Gregg Malkovich observed.
“Anything you can do to make it safer for students and staff is just the way to go,” Malkovich said.
Evans voiced his support for the security measure.
Changes at Numa Elementary School include work to upgrade the parking lot and bus areas, including installation of new lights, according to Byrd.
“Some of the paving in the parking lot was failing, so we repaved those areas as well as putting in a much more efficient and safer bus turnaround and a better parent pickup and dropoff area,” he said. “That area is really congested in the mornings and afternoons. That kind of creates a dangerous situation, but Lumos and Associates and other local engineer came up with a design to really effectively and safely allow the kids to be dropped off and picked up there.”
In addition to pickup and dropoff, Byrd pointed out A & K Earth Movers is working on a project to add an overflow parking area on the north side of Numa. Underground electrical lines for the new parking lot lighting have also been installed.
While actual construction basically began on June 10, Byrd noted that planning began last fall. For example, HVAC units were pre-ordered for the entire district to make sure they arrived in time to be ready for the start of the new school year.
“There was a lot of preparation leading up to this summer so it’s nice to see everything go so smoothly,” he said. “The work on our end really started back last fall when we were identifying and trying to get everything we needed to be ready for June 10.”
As far as Malkovich is concerned, the remodel at his school is just a little extra incentive in preparing for the new year.
“I think it helps to see them basically take an old school and make it look new,” he said. “We’re pretty excited that we’ll have a fresh-looking building to welcome all the new students and parents.”