By John Bernhardt
“Without labor nothing prospers.”
Hammer and saw, clean and shine” has been the refrain at Andes Central School this summer. The summer months are the best chance schools have to take every classroom and office apart for some top to bottom spic and span. The Andes custodial and transportation staffs have been busy preparing the school for a fresh start in September.
At long last ACS has new tennis courts! On most days during the month of August, tennis balls sail through the air on two refinished, spiffy, blue and green courts. A project started last fall, delayed during the winter months, was finally signed off during the month of July. Completing the project required paring back the evergreen forest on the side of the hill to the north of the courts. A crushed stone walkway around the rear of the courts to the front gate for tennis enthusiasts who approach the courts from Depot Street should be completed by the end of the month. The Andes Tennis team will be playing home contests on the courts next spring.
To help tighten security and assist energy efficiency, new doors have been installed in the front and at the northern and southern ends of the building. The northern and southern door units come equipped with security swipe pads. Those doors will be locked during the school day and designated staff provided swipe cards to use when entering the building. New doors at the rear of the gymnasium are also scheduled for installation.
The ACS custodial staff has put together the teamwork required to give the gymnasium a facelift. New bleachers have been purchased and will be installed this fall. To prepare the gymnasium for the seating upgrade, members of the custodial staff were beavers; dismantling the old bleachers, and cleaning and painting the walls, overhead lights, and ceilings. Andes will play home basketball contests next winter in the oldest active sports facility in Delaware County, a home court with a shiny clean face that bursts with Mountaineer pride.
ACS continues to move forward in providing the most up-to-date technology tools for our teachers and students. This summer, the District completed a broadband upgrade providing our network with sixty-six times the capacity we previously enjoyed. The upgrade will allow ACS to receive and/or send more than one distance-learning class at the same time. An upgrade of the district wireless network is also underway with access points added in classrooms and hallways to assure speedy internet connectivity. A mobile computer cart with one-to-one laptop capacity for use by fifth and sixth grade students has also been added. Andes now has one-to-one computing capacity for students in grades 5 through 12 in the four core classes; English, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Our school facility is one of Andes’ most time-treasured and valued sites. Keeping our school up-to-date requires continued diligence. Work needs to be done on the main walkway into the school building. The Class of 2010 is incorporating a walk upgrade as part of a fund raiser that will allow parents, teachers, staff, community members, present and past, and alumni to purchase commemorative bricks to be used in the upgrade.
In addition, the Board of Education is considering work on the slate roof and clock tower. Gutter and roof corrections are necessary to eliminate water issues related to winter ice build up. The clock tower, a local Andes architectural landmark, badly needs repair. Both the stone and roof repairs and the tower were identified in our five-year building condition survey as items needing attention in order to prevent accidents and protect the integrity of our historic building.
The District has two projects approved by District voters on the sidelines waiting for the starter’s gun. Two times since the spring, we have gone to bid seeking price quotes to complete a modular structure locker room project. This project is part of the District’s Remediation Plan to satisfy a civil rights judgment made against the District for handicapped access.
In both cases, without bids from local contractors, general contracting quotes killed the project. The price quotes for mechanicals, plumbing and the modular structures were within the estimated amounts. Electrical quotes were somewhat higher than expected, but the bids for general contracting work were outrageous, nearing almost $700/square foot. The District plans to put the project out to bid one more time making every possible effort to secure bids from local trades people.
District voters have also approved an upgrade to our public address and communication system. That project includes the new modular locker room facility and awaits resolution on that front before work can begin.
We tip our hats to the Andes custodial and transportation staffs for a productive summer. Their sustained efforts assure that ACS continues to provide a pleasant and safe environment to work and learn. ~