Small Town News


Summer school maintenance projects underway

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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Cheney and Medical Lake students may notice some new or changed features in their school when they return from summer vacation.

Both school districts' maintenance departments are working on various projects during the next two months.

In Cheney, Salnave Elementary School's main foyer and arena lighting will be replaced with light emitting diode fixtures. Jeff McClure, director of maintenance and operations, said after maintenance crew installs new lighting it will change "the look of the room."

"The new lights run cool and will save the district in utility costs," McClure said. "All of our gyms have already been retrofitted with energy savings lighting."

Crews will install new sinks and cabinets in the building's lower level, which McClure said is the oldest classroom area in the district. Staff is also building a wall between the classrooms in the lower level. There will be additional landscape features planted near Salnave's playground ramp.

At Sunset Elementary School, crews recently installed a new gym floor.

"Before it was a rubber floor with a grayish color," McClure said. "Now it's a rubberized flooring that looks like wood. It will look nice for years and years."

McClure added that the Airway Heights Parks and Recreation Department supplied new backboards for the gym.

Sunset is also having a sidewalk installed by the portables to provide a safer route for children during the day. At Windsor Elementary School, the glycol in the building's HVAC system will be flushed and replaced.

Crews recently installed a new fence on Mike McK-eehan Way near Cheney Middle School.

McClure said most of the district's buildings have limited water available for their playgrounds and sports fields because of the city of Cheney's water conservation efforts. Crews will be concentrating the water they do have available on the fall sports fields.

"We're also working on a couple of energy-saving projects at the garage," McClure said. "One of those is changing the controls of the bus-heating area. We're going to install a timer for the heaters instead of keeping them on all of the time. That will save the district money."

Gary Hartman, Medical Lake School District's maintenance supervisor, said there are not many "huge projects" staff will be working on over the summer.

He said staff will repair the asphalt at Michael Anderson Elementary School. Crews will also seal any cracks on the playground equipment "to make it safer for children."

At Hallett Elementary School, Hartman said crews will install a security wall between the pillars that go into the multi-purpose room. Staff will also replace a couple of the water faucets at the middle school.

At the high school, staff will replace a couple of the interior doors that Hartman described as "beat up," as well as install new locks on the gym doors to prevent students from accessing the gym without authorization.

Medical Lake staff will use Irricure every four weeks to maintain the district's fields. According to the Mitchell Products website, Irricure is a concentrated penetrant that conditions the soil to improve rewetting and irrigation efficiency.

Other projects Medical Lake staff will complete over the summer include relining the parking lots, inspecting fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in the buildings and packing the playgrounds with bark chips.

"The bark gets pretty beaten up during the school year," Hartman said with a laugh. "We beef that up every year so they (students) can squish it back down."

Al Stover can be reached at

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Original Publication Date: July 14, 2016

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