Thursday, 28 September 2017 06:32

Chinook able to cope with maintenance needs of buildings

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The Chinook School Division's maintenance department is still able to deal with incoming work requests, despite some staffing adjustments during the past year as a result of budget limitations.


Details about the maintenance department's work were provided during the presentation of the facilities and maintenance status report at a regular Chinook School Division board meeting, Sept. 11.
Two staff members were redeployed from the central maintenance department to other positions within the school division. One was reassigned to Maverick School as a facility operator and the other was moved to the maintenance position at Swift Current Comprehensive High School to take over from someone who retired.
Rod Quintin, the Chinook School Division’s chief financial officer, said there will be a focus on maintaining essential components and the overall soundness of buildings as a result of budget restrictions.
“A lot of the things that we will probably see less of would be what we would call the esthetic improvements, things like painting,” he said. “Things like esthetic enhancements may not happen as fast because of our reduced capacity. The building envelopes, the critical systems, and that type of stuff will be always important to maintain, but we do expect over time there will be less emphasis on the esthetic simply because of budget.”
There are 13 staff members in the central maintenance department. The Chinook School Division needs to maintain 29 buildings and the facility staff at these buildings consist of 35 full-time and 26 part-time positions.
The maintenance priorities during the new school year will be on those components that need to function to enable staff and students to use the buildings.
“We will continue working on things like roofs and boilers and windows,” he said. “Those types of elements that are pretty important to the creature comforts of the buildings.”
As a result of the staffing changes in the maintenance department the management of work orders will have to be considered carefully.
“We are going to need to be more strategic in how we can manage all of the work orders that come in, because the buildings get older every day and that never goes away,” he said. “So we need to be more strategic in making sure that we keep those work order type requests under control and keep on top of them.”
During the past eight school years the number of work requisitions varied between a high of 2,703 in 2010-11 and a low of 2,025 in 2009-10. A total of 2,412 work requisitions were received in 2016-17 and 1,657 were completed. The ability of the maintenance department to complete requests is related to staffing levels, the type of requisitions, and the availability of contracted services.
Since 2005 the maintenance department has completed an annual assessment of all the school facilities in the Chinook School Division. Since then 27 out of 29 schools have increased their overall rating.
The maintenance department's goal is for facilities to achieve a rating of 80 per cent. The most recent facilities rating was done in September 2017. Nine schools achieved a rating of 80 per cent or more, and 15 schools had a rating between 70 and 79 per cent. The remaining five schools had a facility rating between 65 and 69 per cent.
The facilities and maintenance operating budget for 2016-17 was $11.2 million, which included $2.8 million for amortization. In addition the Chinook School Division received a Preventative Maintenance and Repair (PMR) funding allocation of $1,488,253.
The Ministry of Education allocates PMR funding to a school division based on the total gross area of all the schools.
The PMR funding allocation to Chinook School Division has increased from $693,000 in 2013-14 to $1,488,253 in 2016-17. The school division will receive an allocation of $1,715,717 for the 2017-18 school year.
The PMR funding gives the school division more flexibility to plan and complete renovation projects internally.
“It allows us to do those larger facility maintenance type projects on timelines that work for us as opposed to timelines that may be imposed upon us by the ministry,” Quintin said. “We can plan our work better and we believe we definitely get it at better pricing. So we’re able to obtain work from contractors in time frames that are the best for pricing and hopefully quality of work.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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