ASD makes improvements in schools while students aren't there

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 5:54 PM AKDT
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Kids still aren't back in school, but the Anchorage School District buildings' hallways are still full, with maintenance workers taking advantage of empty schools.

Senior Director of Maintenance and Operations Darin Hargraves said the district has all of its roughly 130 members of the maintenance department doing a great deal of preventative maintenance on schools district-wide.

He said that means people will be checking things like blinking lights, leaks, cracks, misplaced tiles, whether or not doors work, and pretty much anything else they can get to with the extra time.

There's a bit of irony in the fact that the current disaster COVID-19 created has given the district time to make repairs from another recent disaster.

"About three weeks ago, we had about 3,500 work orders in the system," he said. "We're taking advantage of our people being back and working in our buildings. We've gotten that total to about 2,800. Before the Earthquake, the 7.1 earthquake that we had a year or so ago, we we're averaging about 1,800. So this has allowed us to do a little bit of catch up."

Additionally, to avoid large amassed costs to utilities, he said that the crew has cut back on all utilities. The lights aren't on as long, the heat has been turned down, and other measures have been implemented to save money.

Hargraves didn't know exactly how much ASD has saved as of Friday, but he predicts it will be in the range of tens of thousands of dollars before things return to normal.

ASD is also keeping workers apart to avoid potential spread of coronavirus. Hargraves said all workers drive to sites in their own cars and the school is doing their time-keeping to prevent them from having to physically go into work to clock in.

Hargraves also said that throughout the closure, they would be doing deep cleanings of spots they normally don't have the time to address.

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