District tackles summer cleaning, campus improvements

A summer spruce up is underway for several Del Mar Union School District campuses. The custodial management team, led by director Randy Wheaton, has been hard at work this summer, doing deep cleaning in the classrooms at each of the district schools.

Additionally the district has undergone four major projects this summer set to improve the quality of student-life including new paint jobs, blacktops, carpet and a new water system for Carmel Del Mar.

Since 2000, the district custodial staff has used a “team cleaning” approach when it comes to their deep cleaning projects according to Patrick Lum, the night custodial manager.

“It has been very successful,” said Lum of the team approach. “The crew is more productive and workers don’t get as tired when they’re working as a crew.”

The “tight-knit” 11-man crew is taxed with cleaning top to bottom, ceiling to floor, in about 500,000 square feet of the eight district facilities. The work includes dusting walls, cleaning windows and stripping, waxing and varnishing floors. The team moves through about five to six classrooms a night and expect to be completely finished by Aug. 15.

“The schools have never looked cleaner,” Lum said.

In addition to being squeaky clean, Carmel Del Mar’s exterior got its first paint job since 2002, freshening up not only the outside but inside as well. Wheaton said as a district, this summer’s paint jobs were the biggest they have done to date. In addition to the work at Carmel Del Mar, they also painted office interiors at Del Mar Hills and Del Mar Heights.

Also at Del Mar Heights and Hills, the district is currently at work repairing a lot of water and root damaged blacktop areas. They have completed most of the work and expect to have it all done by the time teachers are coming back for readiness days.

At Carmel Del Mar, the district had a huge undertaking, digging up the concrete to replace the entire domestic feed line and installing new pressure reducing valve (PRV) stations, which can help to conserve water. Additionally they added city-required backflow devices, which are used to protect water supplies from contamination or pollution.

The school hadn’t made any changes to this system since it was built in 1992 so the new system now brings them up to code and will serve the school for many years to come. The project was just completed last week, taking only 21 days to complete.

“We’ve got great contractors coming in and working with us,” said Interim Superintendent Janet Bernard.

While replacing the carpet at Sage Canyon is estimated to be a two to three-year long project, they got a good start on it over the summer.

Wheaton said Sage Canyon is a reminder that wise decisions really need to be made when selecting carpets for schools. Sage went with a light-colored carpet that he said has not worked at all; it attracted too much dirt.

“The carpet has taken such a beating there,” Wheaton said.

New carpet has been added to the administration offices, the multi-use room, the library and the 100-wing of the school. An early report from Interim Superintendent Janet Bernard is that the carpet looks great, especially in the MUR which she said almost looks like a new room.

Superintendent search continues

Monday was the deadline for applicants for the open superintendent position at the district. The deadline marks the end of a nationwide search by the Cosca Group, the superintendent search firm hired by the district to lead find the right fit for Del Mar. The board is scheduled to meet on Aug. 8 to discuss candidates with superintendent interviews to begin by Aug. 15.

The board’s next regular meeting will be held on Sept. 3. The meeting was rescheduled from the original date of Aug. 27 due to Bernard’s being unable to attend.

New faces

The district filled a new and much needed position for the fall with Katie Shanahan, who will serve as the district’s first coordinator for state and federal projects. Shanahan, who is from the Vista Unified School District, will be responsible for all aspects of the district program for English language learners, advanced GATE learners programs, library programs and school improvement programs.

“I’m very excited to be here,” said Shanahan. “I’m hoping my experience will both serve and support the district for many years to come.”

The board also hired a new director of technology last week in Michael Casey. In their first round of interviews for the position, the board met an impasse and Smith was forced to go out and solicit new candidates, which included Casey.

“I think it was important to get somebody that we’re really happy with,” Bernard said.

Casey hails from San Diego Unified School District where Bernard said he was instrumental in setting up their whole technology program. She has high hopes he will be a great asset for Del Mar.