Summer means work in county schools

June 18, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County public schools are scheduled to undergo more than 100 maintenance and construction projects this summer.

The work will cost about $6 million and affect about 30 schools and the administrative building, according to Michael Peplinski, director of school maintenance and operations. Not all projects are completed over the summer months, but the bulk of them will be finished by Aug. 22, the first day of the 2007-08 school year.

Peplinski said several projects have been completed and a number of them are under contract.

The county's public schools received about $6.8 million in maintenance and upgrades last summer, school system officials have said. The money was spread over 140 summer projects, including new boilers and air-conditioning units, parking lot repairs, carpet replacement and new offices.

Peplinski said fewer projects will be completed this summer than last, but they are more expensive. He said officials tried to include those projects in this year's schedule because they anticipate that maintenance projects will be "cut drastically" next year when money will need to be spent on the construction of a new elementary school and two replacement elementary schools. All three schools are scheduled to open in 2008.


The final phase of asbestos removal at Williamsport High School is scheduled to be finished by the end of the summer. Peplinski said asbestos must be removed when students are not in school because asbestos is dangerous when it is airborne.

The project has cost about $1.5 million, including more than $500,000 this summer.

Other Williamsport High projects scheduled this year involve the gym bleachers ($40,000) and the visitor stadium bleachers ($170,000), according to a document provided by school officials.

Clear Spring Middle and Clear Spring High schools will receive new rooftop heating and air-conditioning units. Peplinski said both units are originals from when the buildings were completed in the 1970s.

"They're really on their last legs," he said.

The cost for both units combined will be about $850,000.

A new roof for Lincolnshire Elementary will cost about $850,000. There was an upgrade at the school in the late 1980s, Peplinski said, but this roof will span the entire building.

He said that not all schools will receive a maintenance project over the summer. Some because they are not priority projects, and others because they are scheduled for new buildings. That is the case with Pangborn and Maugansville elementary schools.

"You don't want to put a lot of money into a school you're going to tear down," Peplinski said.

The school system's administrative office is scheduled for more than $680,000 in summer maintenance projects.

Big-ticket items

Some maintenance projects at Washington County public schools:

· Lincolnshire Elementary School's new roof - $850,000

· Clear Spring Middle School floor replacement - $120,000

· Smithsburg High School chiller replacement - $250,000

· Sharpsburg Elementary School chiller system replacement - $170,000

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