Courageous Conversations: Will Prop S Impact Building Maintenance?

News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Fifty-three buildings, 25,000 students and 4.3 million square feet of facilities make up Springfield Public Schools, and are cared for by a team of 60 maintenance employees.

Facilities employees work around-the-clock to keep the district running, from routine boiler upkeep– to re-shingling 4 million square feet of roofs.
 
“The day to day operation is sometimes challenging and just depends on the workload and what issues may arise,” said Shawn Dilday, Executive Director of Operations at Springfield Public Schools.
 
SPS facilities are currently paid for by general funding, and necessary renovations of at least six buildings, averaging 86 years of age, would be funded in part by the upcoming Proposition S bond. Prop S will be seen on ballots this April, and is a $168 million proposal to renovate or rebuild several SPS buildings, but would not add to day-to-day maintenance funding.
 
“The dollars that we received through our capital projects can be put into our capital fund a variety of ways, but none of those dollars can be used specifically for major renovation and new build constructions,” explains Executive Director of Operations for SPS, Travis Shaw. “Those dollars only come from the debt service levy, which is what we’re seeking from voters in April.”
 
Although Proposition S would not allot specific dollars for SPS maintenance initiatives, it would remove pressure from general funding that is reserved for facilities operations.

Shaw believes that preventative maintenance is crucial to avoiding structure damage and keeping renovation costs low. The best way to prevent damage is to start at the building’s first line of defense– the roof.
 
“The roof is what protects everything inside. If you don’t have that umbrella, that protection, then it creates all of those adverse effects from our HVAC systems inside, to humidity controls– all of those things,” said Shaw. 
 
As for maintaining the inside of buildings, employees answer work orders that are filed throughout the district.
 
“We have on-call staff that is called out on the weekends or the evening,” said Dilday. “Anytime there is a water break, flood in the building, glycol leak in the HVAC piece of equipment– it’s all hands on deck, we get in and resolve whatever the problem may be… Our main goal is to provide safe, well-maintained facilities to educate our students in the district.”

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