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Cheney School District using summer to deal with deferred repairs


Medical Lake Middle School

Construction worker Tony Caprile (left) hands Kevin Wurn (right) a drill as they work on Salnave Elementary's exterior.

While students and staff may have the summer off, projects in the Cheney School District will be keeping maintenance personnel and local contractors pretty busy.

The district is doing about $4.2 million in work that spans the gamut of complexity from new roofs to security system upgrades to new bathrooms. It's project work funded through left over capital projects money from construction of the Cheney and Westwood middle schools along with Snowdon Elementary School and in many cases has been a long time in coming.

"Basically all I'm doing is taking up all the deferred maintenance we've put off the last 15 years," Jeff McClure, district maintenance, operations and safety director, said.

The biggest single chunk of work is the $1.2 million installing of 30-year roofs at Sunset, Windsor, Betz and Salnave elementary schools as well as the high school. Arrow Roofing was awarded $894,138 for work at Salnave, Sunset and Windsor while Krueger Sheet Metal picked up $315,971 of work at Betz and the high school.

McClure said the high school was re-roofed in 1994, but only with a 10-year roof due to the district running out of funds for project work. The current work, which includes installation of anodized panels on some sections of roofs, should bring the schools in line with the replacement cycle for the district's two new middle schools and Snowdon.

"Hopefully, this is the last time we'll talk about roof replacements," McClure said.

The remaining $3 million of work covers just about every district facility and addresses an equally varied set of needs. The high school track is receiving a new, red, rubberized surface as the old one has just reached the end of its warranteed lifespan.

"If we do it now, it saves a lot of money, rather than wait for it to deteriorate," McClure said.

New locks are also being installed at the high school and the parking lot is being repainted, with the help of volunteers from Cheney's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. McClure said the new configuration should increase parking spaces from 190 to 271 as well as help reduce the potential for speeding in the lot.

McClure said a natural spring has come up under the north softball field at Crunk's Sports Complex, leading district personnel to install a "French drain" to better remove standing water. A French drain involves running perforated piping through river rock so the drain remains open.

Work at Sunset includes new painting of sunscreens and installation of a dividing curtain in the school gym to allow two different school activities to take place at the same time. Windsor is also having new sunscreens painted, along with installation of security fencing around the portable classrooms.

District personnel will be busy turning the former science lab at Salnave Elementary into a new classroom to handle growing student enrollment, work that includes new carpet, permanent walls and furniture. The school's gym is also getting a new floor "over pour," essentially a new floor over the old one that McClure said will be so good resembling a Maplewood floor that anyone standing on it wouldn't be able to tell it's fake.

Other projects around the district include additional security measures along with two new bathrooms in two buildings at the administration complex on Andrus Road.

"All of this is (school) board approved stuff," McClure said.

John McCallum can be reached at

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