When the final bell rings and the kids are out of school, there are those whose work kicks into high gear. Pasco County schools’ custodial staff puts in 10-hour days Mondays through Thursdays until the week before school begins.
“We get everything from the ceiling to the floor: patch holes, paint some and wax the floors last,” Rushe Middle School plant manager Jeff Gilliland says.
The staff at each school clears out every room entirely so that four to six coats of wax can be applied to each floor, depending on the previous year’s use. Gum is scraped off the desks, bolts are tightened and even white boards are shined, he adds.
The schools get a thorough cleaning. Air filters are switched out, scrub brushes are taken to the carpeted areas and spot treatments are done.
“You don’t really get a chance during the year to make sure everything is touched with a good germicide. Summer is the time to do all of that,” Gilliland says.
Not only does the custodial staff clean, but they make sure the school is available throughout the summer so that teachers are ready at the beginning of the next school year.
Custodians also prepare for the extended school year, set up for summer trainings held in classrooms, prepare portable classrooms for new teachers and move boxes, file cabinets and teachers’ belongings for those who are moving to other classrooms.
“Because so much of the work cannot be completed with students in the building,” Gilliland says, “this is the time of year where you can actually take the Band-aids off and do the major repairs."
Even the community uses the schools during the summertime. Pasco’s SWAT and fire departments practice drills and rappelling at Rushe, one of the few three-story buildings in the area.
“While you’re trying to get the school ready, you’re loaning it out for in-service trainings and all that goes on,” Gilliland says.
Denise McCarty, assistant plant manager at Lake Myrtle Elementary sees summer as an important time for making the campus safe and enjoyable for students and faculty.
“All of the hard work we do over the summer leads to a clean, safe environment for the kids to enjoy come next school year,” McCarty says.
Eric Hughes, plant manager, agrees, “Everything we do is for the kids.”