Districts continue school maintenance

Scotty’s Contracting & Stone LLC employees work Wednesday morning on paving one of the parking areas at Rineyville Elementary School.

Schools districts in Hardin County have continued to maintain school buildings and grounds despite changes with closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joe Stuecker, Hardin County Schools director of building and grounds, said they’ve been working on many maintenance and work projects this summer.

“Even though we don’t have students in those buildings, and we haven’t in quite a while ... they still require maintenance,” Stuecker said.

He said work orders come in nearly every day, and when he last checked there were between 90 to 110 work orders out.

Stuecker said small projects happen consistently during the summer including mowing crews, lighting projects such as changing out old lights with LED lighting and maintenance and repair to HVAC systems.

Larger projects include re-­roofing James T. Alton Middle School, a large roof maintenance project in New Highland Elementary School, asphalt paving at North Hardin High School and Rineyville Elementary School and parking lot maintenance at the Early College and Career Center and Heartland Elementary School.

Stuecker said they’ve also been working on West Point School, and will continue after Wednesday’s merger.

Jon Ballard, Elizabethtown In­de­pendent School superintendent, said the only major project this summer is putting the finishing touches on the softball fieldhouse outside of the high school.

He said once the punch list for the building is complete, it will basically be finished

Because of the extended period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic of the school closures, Stuecker said they now have an opportunity to work on projects they wouldn’t be able to do under the normal time constraints. Ballard said his district also has been helped by the lengthy break.

“Not being in school the last part of the year kind of gave our maintenance staff ... a leg up on the normal routine maintenance,” Ballard said.

It also has given HCS the opportunity to work on COVID-19 related projects.

Stuecker said they’ve been putting in hand sanitizer stations in every school and classroom, which would have been difficult to do during a typical summer break.

He said they’re also looking into hands free options for bathrooms, capacity and social distancing spaces and looking into plexi-glass options, despite the constantly changing guidelines.

“We’re just trying to make everything as safe and healthiest possible for our students,” Stuecker said.

In terms of COVID-related projects, Ballard said they’ll be having an indoor air quality assessment done on the buildings possibly in the next week. Once that is completed, he said they’ll follow through to see if any repair or changes need to be made.

He also said there are a few places they’re considering putting plexiglass in.

Stuecker said the district works on larger projects from the end of the school year to the end of July during a typical break.

“Having this time has given us the opportunity to take a look at things that we haven’t been able to do,” Stuecker said.

The additional time has given the district an opportunity to test different flooring in Meadowview Elementary School in Radcliff. Stuecker said this is something that they would not have been able to do under normal circumstances.

However, Stuecker said they miss having the students in the building. He said workers like seeing the students and having them ask about what they’re working on and showing them.

“It’s not just the teachers that are affected and the principals and the school staff,” Stuecker said. “It’s the maintenance guys too.”

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1747 or aharp@thenewsenterprise.com.

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