School projects get checked off to-do list

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 23, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Summer doesn’t mean a vacation for the staff in Albert Lea Schools Facilities and Transportation.

Instead, it means getting done a score of projects built up over the school year, such as painting classrooms, rearranging computer labs, installing projectors. They also ensure bigger projects such as installing pool covers and redoing gym floors get finished.

&8220;Last May it looked like a really easy summer,&8221; Director of Facilities and Transportation Bruce Olson said. &8220;Then you start talking about football fields.&8221;

The field had to be re-sodded after poah, a shallow-rooted grass, infested the area. During a rainstorm, the poah got plowed up by people’s feet, turning the field into a bowl of mud.

Excavating and re-sodding the field cost the school system $51,300. A $9,480 sprinkler system has also been installed.

The tennis courts, on Riverland Community College’s property, are predicted to be finished on September 1, causing only one meet to be missed. The gravel base has already been put down.

A new automated pool cover was installed in the Albert Lea High School to help save the district money in heating costs. It takes less than two minutes to cover or uncover the pool.

The gym floor at Southwest Middle School will have its repairs finished on September 1. The floor

was badly damaged by water when a child hung on a pipe in the locker room, causing the pipe to burst and flood the locker room and the gym. The new base plywood has been installed, and will be overlaid by maple wood flooring.

Computer labs at Southwest will be arranged so there’s another permanent lab in the library and another temporary lab that can be removed later if it becomes unnecessary.

Some of the floor tiles in Southwest classrooms have come loose, and because they contain asbestos, workers will replace them with new vinyl tiles. Halverson and Lakeview Elementaries will also have some tiles replaced. It will cost about $2,500 per classroom.

The roof at Brookside Area Learning Center is getting repaired this summer as part of a three-year project. The old rubber roof will be replaced with an asphalt roof, which Olson said is longer lasting.

Lakeview Elementary will get a new room specialized for autistic children, with its own bathroom and playground area. It will cost about $2,000.

Though no major parking lot renovations are planned for this year, next year many parking lots

will receive attention.