2015-05-29 / Community

Facilities Maintenance – Protecting the Community’s Investment in Its Schools

Russ Brigham – Director of Buildings and Grounds

The Facilities Department of the South Portland School Department has the responsibility for maintaining eight schools and a transportation building comprising 736,000 square feet of instructional, office, and maintenance space. The maintenance of the buildings and the assets within is accomplished through the efforts of four maintenance and thirty two custodial personnel, and their work is supplemented by local contractors when necessary. Their scope of work includes performing special projects, responding to emergencies, and making repairs and conducting preventive maintenance. The Facilities Department’s personnel take this responsibility seriously, and within

the past five years, the School Department has spent almost $3.3 million in Federal Stimulus, Capital Improvement Project bond, Reserve, and local budget funds to repair and improve the buildings, equipment, and systems related to the operation of the schools. This includes improving the energy efficiency of the School Department’s buildings to make them less costly to operate, healthier and safer. Within the last four years, the School Department has implemented a significant preventive maintenance program across all its buildings utilizing department staff and contracted vendors. These efforts have paid dividends, as approximately 80% of the School Department’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems are functioning more efficiently. Continued efforts in this area will focus on making building envelopes more secure and maximizing the efficiency of boilers and related heating systems.

The Facilities Department instituted a work order system four years ago that tracks all projects and repairs performed by the Department’s maintenance staff. An added advantage of this system is it provides an easy means to prioritize work orders based on safety, health, and security. Since the system’s implementation, more than 4,556 work orders have been completed across the district.The School Department also has a building usage program that allows School and City staff, members of the community, and approved outside organizations to use or rent various selected rooms within each of the schools. The School Department has made its buildings safer this year by improving the security systems at the five elementary schools and the now-completed high school. In addition, the School Department is working to improve its impact on the community by instituting several additional cafeteria waste recycling programs.

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