Schools receive maintenance updates

Published 10:15 pm Monday, July 15, 2019

Lakeland High School was a little hotter than normal Monday as work was ongoing on phase two of replacing its classroom HVAC units.

While the main entryway and front office were air conditioned, the classroom areas on the first and second floors were not, as workers from Beach Controls were sweating it out to replace the classroom heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.

Suffolk Public Schools Director of Facilities and Planning Terry Napier told the School Board at its Thursday meeting that Lakeland will now have the ability to switch over from heat to air conditioning within about an hour, versus what has previously been a three-day process. That same switchover will be ready at Nansemond River High School by the end of the summer.

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While every school is getting some work done over the summer, much of it is taking place at John Yeates Middle School.

Napier said John Yeates was receiving an exterior upgrade, to include:

  • Replacing the bus canopy.
  • Replacing tile on the exterior wall with platinum panels and replacing the school name with larger lettering.
  • Replacing two sets of exterior doors at the auditorium with storefront doors, as well as replacing the remaining exterior doors.
  • Repairing, caulking and repainting all of the windows and exterior metal with platinum-colored paint.
  • Replacing the front concrete walk area.
  • Painting the exterior as needed.

Other major work going on that Napier cited was major roof repairs at Hillpoint Elementary School and replacing all of the student desks and chairs at Booker T. Washington and Nansemond Parkway elementary schools. He said Nansemond Parkway’s bathrooms will have new hand dryers installed.

At Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, its entire interior will be repainted, while playground equipment will be replaced at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School. Playground repairs are also taking place at Oakland, Mack Benn Jr. and Northern Shores elementary schools, and all of the elementary school playgrounds will receive new mulch.

Hot water heaters in the mechanical room at Northern Shores Elementary School are also being replaced, he said, while several schools are receiving more white boards, including Parkway, Kilby Shores, Hillpoint, Elephant’s Fork and Nansemond Parkway elementary schools. Nansemond River High School is also getting more white boards.

All of the division’s wood gym floors are being refinished, while all of the middle schools, with the exception of Col. Fred Cherry Middle School, will be getting new athletic uniforms.

As needed, school parking lots will receive striping, he said. Bleacher inspections are taking place at the three high schools, as well as Col. Fred Cherry and John F. Kennedy middle schools, Turlington Woods School, and Creekside, Northern Shores and Oakland elementary schools.

“There’s a lot going on … so as you see, we’re busy,” Napier said.

Board member Sherri Story asked for an update on Kilby Shores’ mold issues resulting from flooding that took place in the school’s music and art rooms during the week of April 15.

Napier said all of the work to remediate the mold issue had been completed there. He said the flood there resulted from a failed water pipe that was feeding an HVAC unit in the music room.

The school found the issue on April 22, the first day back from spring break, and the unit was fixed that Monday. Napier outlined the following remediation steps that took place at Kilby Shores:

  • April 22 to 29: Water extraction and drying services brought in and completed by ServPro.
  • April 29 to May 13: Drywall and carpet removal in the music and art rooms, also by ServPro.
  • May 7: Marine Chemist Service conducted visual mold inspection and performed random assessments for air quality throughout the school as a preliminary test.
  • May 15: Taylor Enterprises replaced drywall, and shortly after that, Cherry Carpet replaced the carpet in the music room.
  • June 17: Marine Chemist Service ran a second set of tests, “and all of those tests came back satisfactory,” Napier said.

“It was a mess in that music room at Kilby Shores,” Napier said. “It took us a long time, (and) we were not able to open that room before school ended even though the work was finished because we wanted to wait for Marine Chemists to go in there and do their second set of samples, which they did. They wrote us a clearance letter.”

He told the board the issue has been taken care of.

“We think everything that happened there was taken care of in the right way,” Napier said. “We had the right contractors in there, and we don’t believe we have a situation there at this point.”