COPPERAS COVE — While some school districts completely shut down operations, Copperas Cove ISD took advantage of the pandemic to complete additional projects.
Maintenance employees as well as groundskeepers, custodians, nutrition and administrative staff have continued to work daily throughout the pandemic. CCISD Maintenance Director Mark Stahl says one of the main benefits of continuing to work has been maintaining morale amongst the team.
“Even in difficult times, people want to work and support their families, in addition to serving the staff and community of this school district,” Stahl said. “One of the most rewarding things has been banding together and supporting other operational departments like food service, transportation, and custodial as they have continued to work. We have been able to get an early start on some projects. But in the end, our work is all about people.”
CCISD employs 34 people in the maintenance department, including skilled trades, locksmith, carpentry, general maintenance, pest control, grounds, and administrative positions.
During the pandemic, maintenance workers have replaced approximately 90 feet of sewer line at Martin Walker Elementary. At Copperas Cove High School, the feature wall of the school was re-faced along with the pillars, parking lot pole lights were re-lamped, and interior hallways were repainted blue and gold.
Maintenance employee Thomas Haire said the pandemic allowed work to begin on replacing all of the ceiling tiles in the 300 wing of Copperas Cove High School.
“This project consists of removing the current two-by-four ceiling tiles and replacing them with two-by-two tiles as well as a new grid that will allow the appearance of the hallway to be more aesthetically pleasing,” Haire said. “The ceiling replacement project is dusty and has the potential to create quite a mess.”
At Mae Stevens, the library is being converted into two classrooms to serve more students in the 2020-2021 school year. The project includes abating asbestos-containing construction materials that could not of done during the regular school year. At Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary, removing the old asphalt and concrete pads for the old HVAC systems along with the dilapidated goals has begun. Employees will install approximately four inches of topsoil and install sod with a temporary irrigation system. Ultimately, this section of campus will serve as an outdoor activity area for students.
Maintenance employee Dave Cimmino said the crew does not normally have the opportunity to do some jobs that are low priority during normal school hours.
“We have been able to get all the air conditioning evaporator coils cleaned and sanitized for our students and employees. Cleaning and sanitizing keeps harmful bacteria from breeding and improves air quality that provides a greater level of comfort and health benefits to our students and district employees,” Cimmino said.
The CCISD Maintenance Department also provides oversight to contracted district construction projects to include removing and installing a new roof, replacing several rooftop air conditioning units, and renovating existing facilities to meet the future needs of the school district.