Watson elementary will get plenty of upgrades this summer, as the Chilliwack School District’s Facilities and Transportation Department checks off its summer maintenance and upgrades list.

Asbestos identification, leaky roofs, among Chilliwack school district summer plans

As students dream of summer vacation, the district’s facilities department is lining up a long to-do list of summer maintenance and repairs.

The Chilliwack School District will receive $2.1 million in funding for the 2017-18 school year, and they will try to get as much done as possible while the schools are empty.

“The moment the students are out there’s a push on it,” Al Van Tassel, director of Facilities and Transportation said at the May 23 school board meeting. He outlined the many projects his crew and contracted workers will carry out over the next year, including many upgrades to take place over the summer.

“Watson elementary will be the one to go look at now,” he said. “And then again in September.”

That school is having new floors installed, and several entry points to the school will include the school’s logo worked into that flooring. It was also get a bit of exterior painting work and stucco work completed. And Watson is among the three buildings to be getting a new roof.

The district hired a roofing consultant to identify which sites should be prioritized and to create a 10-year roofing plan. Robertson elementary and the School Board office join Watson at the top of that list. Sardis secondary will also get some help — rain leaks through skylights at that school, into the office area.

Often the summer break is a time when several schools get painted, but there was such a push recently to repaint sites there are no large painting projects this summer, Van Tassel said.

But the district is completing some asbestos identification marking at several sites, as they continue to identify and either remove or cover up the dangerous substance. This summer they will focus on FG Leary and Little Mountain elementary schools. The district keeps an updated list online of all identified asbestos, available for staff to read and know which areas to avoid construction. Asbestos is generally only considered dangerous if tampered with.

Little Mountain will look a little different to students returning in the fall. The office area is being redesigned to allow office staff better access to and viewing of the public.

GW Graham, Tyson, Strathcona and Chilliwack middles will get floor repairs, with East Chilliwack, McCammon and GW Graham will get new gym flooring. Parking lots, paving, fencing, gates, playgrounds and drainage work will also take place this summer.

Some security systems are being upgraded as well. FG Leary is getting a security alarm upgrade, Mount Slesse and Cultus Lake will get fire alarm upgrades, A.D. Rundle will be fitted with roll shutters like those seen at Chilliwack secondary, and Vedder and East Chilliwack elementary schools will be fitted with electronic door locks.

In addition to this work carried out by the district, staff will also be busy converting spaces in schools to allow for more divisions in the fall, and moving around and placing new portables. The transportation department is also encouraging families to register their children for bus services now, so they can properly plan routes as soon as possible. They’ve even created a iPad contest for regular riders who registered early.

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