September 15, 2023

RSU 14 schools undergo changes and improvements over summer

By Masha Yurkevich

When most people think about schools and summer vacations, relaxing and fun times come to mind. However, for the RSU 14 Facilities Department, this is certainly not the case and over a period of about 10 weeks, the summer deep cleaning, major maintenance, and improvement projects must be completed.

RSU 14's Facilities Department was busy over the summer,
replacing the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
system at Manchester School in Windham. HVAC systems
were also replaced at Windham Primary School and at
the Jordan-Small Middle School Office in Raymond among
other school improvement projects completed this summer.
“This is not an easy task,” says Bill Hansen, RSU 14 Director of Facilities, Property Services and Special Projects. “The seven school buildings have a total size of nearly 600,000 square feet and to make things more interesting, each building has summer educational programs and public use that the work must be coordinated around. Just imagine trying to change the oil in your car while you are driving it; that is how the summers go for the staff.”

Hansen said that the biggest challenge is that the start of school is a hard and fast date that does not move so there is no opportunity for more time to complete the work.

According to Hansen, summer cleaning activity is a huge undertaking.

He said that the work consists of cleaning all the floors and carpets, cleaning the furniture, cleaning the walls, and painting where necessary, washing the windows, waxing and buffing floors, and making minor repairs.

Staff must remove all the furnishings and items from each classroom space as part of the cleaning process. Floors are also replaced in spaces identified earlier in the year as part of the ongoing building maintenance.

The summer of 2023 was a particularly busy year for RSU 14 in terms of major school improvement projects and here are a few highlights regarding those efforts:

** The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems were replaced at Windham Primary School, the Jordan Small School Office, and at Manchester School. A significant portion of the projects were paid by the Federal Covid funding, and the upgrades focused on improving indoor air quality by providing more fresh air, improved filtration, air conditioning, and energy efficiency through use of new energy recovery systems. Hansen said that the new equipment was ordered over a year before the work began and, despite this, some of the new equipment did not arrive until mid-August. These two projects were made operational for ventilation for the first day of school for the year and its final check out, optimization, and project completion is expected to be by the end of September.

** In addition to the HVAC work, the Manchester School site improvement project started this summer. Hansen said that this project will provide a tremendous upgrade to the school grounds site with more sports fields, additional parking, and the creation of traffic flow improvements that will include a new parent drop-off loop. He said that the project is also meeting a vital need of North Windham through the installation of a wastewater treatment plant. Hansen said RSU 14’s Facilities Department is anticipating that these improvements will take about three years to complete and the new ball fields at the school should open to the public in the spring of 2025 or the fall of 2024 depending on the weather and how well the fields develop.

Most summer improvement activities were completed in time for the return of students, Hansen said. The RSU 14 facilities staff, with the support from helpful contractors, have transformed the buildings into a clean, well-maintained environment so that school staff members and students can return to spaces ready for another school year. <

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