Inspection of Albert Lea schools reveals no major problems

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 24, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Results are back from a health and safety inspection of Albert Lea schools done in December of 2005, and though there are many minor details the schools will have to fix, no major problems came up.

&8220;We do have a person from the state come around twice a year to inspect the buildings,&8221; said Director of Facilities and Transportation Bruce Olson.

For every problem state inspector Nancy Meixl found, a brief description was given, and Olson has developed plans to solve the problems, some as simple as &8220;Organize&8221; in response to Meixl’s &8220;Area must be neat and orderly.&8221;

One of the notes every school with a kitchen had written down was &8220;Install guard on Hobart mixers.&8221; A Hobart mixer is simply a very large mixer used to blend ingredients. Because the guard would need to electrically wired so that the mixer could not be run without the guard in place, installing just one costs $2,398.

One of the problematic issues Olson has faced is the necessity of putting in guards for all garbage disposals in the school. He has not yet been able to find effective guards that will allow food &045; but not hands &045; to pass through. Some of the alternatives he has found look as if they might leak, Olson said, adding that he is still searching.

The school will need to hire an engineer to post weight limits on the stage lofts in Southwest Middle School and on a loft in Brookside Area Learning Center.

The library in Lakeview Elementary School and the media offices in Hawthorne Elementary School and Sibley Elementary School will have extra outlets installed by district staff after the inspection found daisy-chained extension cords in all three places.

Art rooms, shop rooms and science storage areas in some schools needed to be organized and rearranged, but overall, the district had very few safety issues.