◆ Through the summer of 2021, this team cleaned 507,000 square feet.
Each fall, when Lincoln County School District No. 2 faculty and students return to school, they find their buildings sparkling clean and in excellent repair.
Kindergarten students may feel the Tooth Fairy is putting in extra hours or the Elf on the Shelf has changed his ways. There is, however, a team of unsung heroes that takes pride in preparing and maintaining the district buildings, ensuring safe and healthy environments for students and teachers so they can focus on the business of educating.
This summer, 22 individuals stretched their time and energy to complete a cleaning and maintenance regimen that has typically required 27 team members for successful completion.
“We were very sort-handed for the summer,” Warren Hicks, Director of Maintenance with LCSD No. 2 told SVI. “We are normally staffed with about 27 full-time people, but this year, we were right around 20. We had a few part-time people that filled in between 40 and 150 hours during the summer and we hired two people the last few weeks before teachers returned.”
The responsibilities this team has shouldered are extensive and demanding. They cleaned and sanitized an impressive 507,000 square feet of space in 11 weeks, encompassing all 11 educational and administrative buildings throughout the district. That includes five elementary schools, one middle school, three high schools, the district administrative offices and the transportation department building.
Their summer cleaning regimen always includes striping and waxing all tile floors, extracting (deep cleaning) all the carpets, sanitizing all spaces including bathrooms, desktops, cubicles and counter tops. They wash every wall from the ceiling to the floor. In addition, they continue to do their normal daily cleaning regimen just as they do during the school year.
“Every desk is taken outside and cleaned from top to bottom,” explained Hicks. “We completely empty every room, extract every carpet and put the whole room back together, cleaning everything as we replace it. Every piece of carpet is deep cleaned every summer. Every single desk is cleaned and sanitized from top to bottom. Every counter top is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Each cubby in the kindergarten rooms is removed and sent through the dishwasher or cleaned and sanitized by hand. Every single thing, from the top of the wall down to the floor, is cleaned by the crew.”
Hicks spoke highly of the work ethic demonstrated by his team, explaining that this summer’s custodial and maintenance responsibilities were more demanding than ever before. With fewer hands on the project, the team was very concerned about their ability to complete their assignments in a timely manner. Each team member was committed to meeting their goals, and by the middle of summer, they were farther ahead on their list of projects than they have been in the past.
“It’s very important to everybody on that staff that, when our faculty and our students come back, they have a nice, clean, presentable building,” shared Hicks. “They are very passionate about that. They take a tremendous amount of pride in what the building looks like when the kids and the staff come back to school and were very worried about getting through everything. They knocked themselves out in the first half of the summer and were able to squeeze it out by the time everyone came back.”
Hicks wants the public to be aware that this team’s work makes a tremendous difference in the comfort and cleanliness of the district facilities. “I have many visitors from other parts of the state come for meetings and other things, and every single time, the one overwhelming comment is ‘Wow, you have nice facilities!’ That’s mostly due to our custodial crew and our maintenance crew continuing to keep them safe and looking brand new. When you go to other districts, it’s not always that way.”
The custodial staff’s dedication to this task is also demonstrated by the fact that there is at least one custodian cleaning in the SVHS building 24/7 – at all hours of the day and night.
“I hope that, as the public comes into the buildings and they see how nice our facilities are, that they take the time to let the custodial staff know that they have noticed, and they do appreciate how well we keep up these buildings.”