WARREN, NJ - Can you remember the sights and smells of a new school year from your childhood? Along with new school supplies packed carefully in your backpack, were the fresh scents of the halls and classrooms, not to mention that obvious shine, welcoming the return of students.
As school concluded this past June, Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds Tyler Tribelhorn and his building based custodial staff, began to plan for the busy weeks of summer. His maintenance and custodial team was ready to tackle their tasks, and take tremendous pride in each job well done, for appreciative staff and eager students.
In each school, Angelo L. Tomaso, Central, Mt. Horeb, Woodland, and Warren Middle, plans were made for repairs and reorganization. As Tribelhorn explained, every summer the schools are thoroughly cleaned, with a focus on sanitizing desks, chairs, and restrooms. Windows are washed, as well as walls, doors and halls. On a rotating schedule staff strip floors, and each year they are waxed to a polished shine. The Maintenance Department fastidiously checks plumbing and electrical at each building. They change filters and clean individual univents to maximize their efficiency.
Additionally, 25 summer employees are hired to assist across the district. Andrew Ahimovic, a Mt. Horeb PE teacher, joined the crew to prepare Central School. “It has been interesting to see the transition of the school with the two additions which were added in 1963 and 2006. As we clean, I notice how each room has its own character. One can also get a sense of the personality of the teacher and what takes place in the rooms based on the design of the space and items within,” said Ahimovic.
Warren Middle School Science teacher, Dan Ticchio, is also working this summer to prepare the middle school. The heat and humidity, coupled with the manual labor, is challenging work. Rooms are put back, piece by piece, exactly as they were left thanks to digital camera photos. No detail is left undone as the summer staff takes care to make sure lockers are cleaned meticulously. “As a teacher, it's easy to take for granted how much work goes into getting the school in the beautiful shape it is in when we return in September. I won't take it for granted anymore,” said Ticchio.
District schools have individual projects on their agendas as well. Woodland School is having carpet removed and floor tile installed. Similarly, at ALT School, eight rooms are being renovated with flooring and fresh coats of paint. New carpets are being installed in the main office and library. Central School is getting two new boilers, and its roof gutters are being redesigned and replaced to prevent leaks from ice damming. Many of those jobs are being completed by outside vendors, who were awarded contracts by the Warren Township Board of Education.
At Warren Middle School, the maintenance crew is working on landscaping and tree removal. An exit door was added to the back of the stage. This stage door will increase safety as well as improve the ease of movement during the annual middle school musical productions. In addition to the school projects and progress, the district’s Buildings & Grounds location is upgrading its electrical system as well as expanding office space.
A contractor is working on façade cleaning and masonry work at ALT, Mt. Horeb and Woodland. Throughout the district, catch basin repairs are necessary due to water damage from harsh winter weather. The district’s access system is also being upgraded.
On the horizon, another project is slated for fall; both Mt. Horeb School and Warren Middle School will have the majority of windows replaced. Projects such as this, and the above mentioned façade and boilers, are offset by a 40% grant the district applied for and received from the State.
While these are only a few of the projects that the maintenance and custodial team are focusing on, they are achieving their set goals daily. Tribelhorn said that many educators like to return mid-August to begin to decorate and prepare for their students, so he and his team are conscientious of adhering to the devised timelines.
As project manager for contracted jobs, Tribelhorn also frequently visits each building to assess progress and provide input. With the weather cooperating this summer, and his dedicated staff energized, Tribelhorn is positive about what the upcoming weeks will bring.