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Frank Maes, Manager (21 years with Department, 12 years as manager)
33 technicians and support personnel (down 3 from last year)

Mechanical Craft Shops include HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning); Sheet Metal (duct work, exhaust vents, venting hot water heaters, installing ceiling grills, installing air conditioning units, and locker repair); and Plumbing (domestic water, gas, and sewer maintenance).

Every M&O service department provides a necessary function in contributing to the learning process, no doubt. However, the educational day does not skip a beat due to a cracked sidewalk or broken window blinds. No heat in January, however, abruptly ends the education process and no cooling in August causes languid and inattentive students, at best. Simply stated, schools cannot function without mechanical and plumbing systems’ functioning properly all the time, year round; they are irrefutably the pivotal hub of facilities management. The Department focuses on continual scheduled systems inspections and maintenance in “controlling” reactive work, as these perpetually demanding work orders are more costly and urgent than the vast majority of others. Mechanical technicians know their roles, whether they work in HVAC, plumbing, or sheet rock − provide all students, faculty, and staff with clean, safe, and comfortable environments every day, all day, no exceptions. This requires ceaselessly staying abreast of over 50,000 pieces of mechanical equipment that provide comfortable environments suitable to learning.

The Department’s all-encompassing PM program (aided by contractors) ensures that HVAC systems are inspected monthly, quarterly, or annually (depending on usage). Sophisticated controls (and becoming more so annually) allow for optimum conditions and comfort and are continually monitored via the Internet. Safety inspections are conducted monthly on all fire protection sprinkler systems, kitchen hood fire suppressant systems, and boiler systems. As only vandalism results in needed locker repairs, the one-man Locker Repair Shop is the only craft not on a preventive maintenance program.


Executed new “per unit” fee contracts

Previously, M&O paid an hourly rate ($60 – $70 per hour) for air coolers’ prep, start-up, and walk-through PM work. Under new contract agreements with three vendors, APS will now pay a per unit fee ($40 – $45) which is expected to cut down on the time spent to do the task. As this was launched at the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, results are not yet known, but will be monitored closely and conveyed in the next Year End Report.

Mechanical staff participating in new systems selection process

As the FD+C Division continues to build additions as well as total rebuilds on APS campuses, the more complex and cutting edge the mechanical designs and options become. Department personnel have become indispensable partners in the new construction process regarding making the smartest possible mechanical systems choices that will be cost and time efficient to maintain and service and deliver top performance throughout the equipment’s expected life cycles. The Mechanical Department Manager and FD+C’s HVAC engineer have also teamed up in reviewing new construction and remodeling project specifications by calling out for the best value and best performing products in the market.

Participated in the design of VRF and DDC HVAC systems at various APS sites

Heating and cooling variable refrigerant flow systems and direct digital controls (low voltage electronics on heating and cooling systems individually operated via the APS Intranet) save energy, maintenance labor hours, and ultimately costs. Department leadership has been involved in the design and installation of these systems in numerous new FD+C projects. In the 2013-14 fiscal year, these include: Arroyo del Oso, Dolores Gonzales, and Wherry Elementary Schools in addition to a whole new system at Mountain View Elementary School; 9th grade academy and gym at Rio Grande High School; Ernie Pyle Middle School; and the new PreK – 8 school under construction on Albuquerque’s west side.

Corrected existing VRF systems improperly installed

At the cost of the building contractor, the HVAC Shop electrical technicians re-wired the VRF systems that were mistakenly installed at the new Rio Grande ISP Building by the general contractor. Unfortunately, a similar situation occurred at the Valley High School Industrial Arts Building which also required correction by HVAC and Electrical Shop technicians. Both are now working properly.

Department Manager contributed to the selection and design of ground source heat pump systems
installed at select sites

The innovative heating and cooling system buried 200-300 feet underground draws natural deep-earth warmth to heat and cool (using a reversing valve) facilities. The sites that have received ground source systems to date include Helen Cordero and Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary Schools, Desert Willow Family School, and the award winning APS Community Stadium.

Technicians trained on new systems

HVAC technicians received training on DDC and VRF systems, qualifying more personnel to proficiently work on this advantageous equipment being integrated into the District. This type of professional development will continue throughout the current fiscal year.

Half of the Plumbing Shop technicians completed training and are now certified to perform inspection and testing of new model backflow prevention devices. This will allow more work to be carried out in-house rather than outsourcing. When all have been trained and certified (see 2014-15 Goal on the following page) four gages, one per quadrant, will be purchased to perform the task at smaller schools. The larger schools will continue to be serviced by contractors.

Boilers replaced at select schools

Old hot water (hydronic heating) boilers that simply outlived their life cycle were replaced at Eubank, Villa Vista, and Duranes Elementary Schools. The Department will continue to upgrade and replace old systems as life cycles are realized.

Steam boilers converted to hot water boilers at two schools

Accomplished at Mission and Wherry Elementary Schools leaving seven yet to be converted. At least Highland High School will be achieved in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Heating and cooling unit at Valley High School replaced

The multi-zone unit was replaced at the school’s Performing Arts Center substantially improving the comfort in the building.

Cooling tower at Data Charter High School renewed

The Department upgraded the old system as well as replaced the cooling tower. The refrigeration system
is now operating more reliably and efficiently.

Plumbing systems at select school sites upgraded

Uneconomic or worn out plumbing systems necessitated replacements:

  • New domestic water line at Mitchell Elementary School.
  • Complete gas line replacement at Osuna Elementary School and Sandia High School Administration Building.

Plumbing Shop steadily grows PM

The Plumbing Shop realized only a slight decrease in reactive work but a 7% improvement in preventive maintenance work over the previous year due to the new hot water heaters’ PM.

  • Check temperature and pressure valve.
  • Drain hot water heater.
  • Check burner to confirm proper venting.
  • Check that pumps are working properly.


As the following bar graph illustrates, the Shop has upheld continuous growth in its PM program −1597.5% since 2007!

Plumbing Shop

Fire sprinkler inspections and repairs performed faster

The fire sprinkler technicians realized a 5.4% increase in work orders over the previous year yet completed and closed WOs a more efficient 16.2% quicker.

Fire Sprinkler System

New PM Program

Hot water heaters inspection and service (quarterly, noted in previous Highlight)

PM programs (on-going)

As HVAC and plumbing service inspections are unfunded state-mandated (code required), the Mechanical Department is ahead in developing PM programs; however, many of the following PM programs are not required. All PM work is automatically generated by the PM Direct work order system. PM work orders are scheduled monthly, bi-monthly, semi-annually, and annually (depending on use and function) and visual inspections are performed weekly. PM Direct inspection and/or service generated work orders include:

• Fire protection sprinkler system inspections
• Kitchen hood suppression systems
• Exhaust fans
• HVAC filter change-out
• AC equipment inspection and fully serviced (pads changed every other year)
• Spring AC start-ups (evaporative)
• Winterize AC shut-downs (evaporative)
• Cooling tower and chiller service
• Steam boiler service
• Steam boiler prep for winter heating
• All heating system start-ups (with and without boilers)
• Steam boiler layup
• Steam boiler summer inspections
• Hot water boiler summer inspections
• Weekly boiler inspections (visual)
• Chemical treatment for boilers and chillers
• Annual (primarily summer) inspection, and if necessary repair of plumbing systems
• Natural gas pipe run/inspection: Per the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, by Congressional Mandate the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety act, all gas lines from the meter to the building, in accordance with Mandate (Docket PS-135, Amendment 192-3), all buried gas lines are to be periodically inspected for leakage and repaired if unsafe conditions are found. One third of APS gas lines are inspected on an every third year rotation (summer). APS pressure tests at 5 PSI or service line pressure, greases all gas stops, and repairs any gas lines as needed per the pressure test.
• Water softener treatment
• Chlorinate treatment
• Plumbing inspections at all school sites (drains, faucets/fixtures, toilets, urinals, water fountains)
• Septic pumping and disposal
• Grease trap pumping
• Backflow testing and inspection / backflow prevention
• Inspection and repair of air compressors
• Chillers inspection and repair
• Fire pump flow inspections
• Dry pipe system drip test
• Air compressors inspections
• Chiller water closed-loop service
• Ground source closed-loop service

Special Challenges / Issues

~ SchoolDude HVAC numbers do not tell the true preventive maintenance story.

While it is a worrisome problem that must be corrected, incorrect data is the lesser of the PM issues. All HVAC preventive maintenance is getting done and that is what is most important. Proper documentation of completed preventive maintenance work, however, has been a challenge. Nonetheless, progress is being demonstrated as more accountability has been placed on Supervisors and technicians to complete and forward paperwork in a timely manner. Contractors who have been slow in closing WOs have also been put on notice to perform SchoolDude data entry on a considerably improved timely and accurate basis or risk losing the work. The continued weekly review of work order data by the Executive Director has underscored the urgency for timely data entry that generates accurate results.

In addition, the SchoolDude Comptroller and Computer Network Administrator are providing assistance and streamlining the data collection and entry process.


Status of 2013-14 Goals

  • Install VRF and DDC systems at Dolores Gonzales and Reginald Chavez Elementary Schools, Del Norte High School Industrial Arts Building, and the new Central Kitchen currently under construction. Completed at Del Norte High School. In progress at Dolores Gonzales and Reginald Chavez Elementary Schools and at Central Kitchen still under construction.
  • Hire qualified HVAC technicians. The Manager is hoping to rehire performance-proven former APS technicians and advance existing technicians. Hired two but one has departed. Hope to replace.
  • Add one more PM task in the HVAC shop (yet to be determined), and one in the Plumbing Shop (possibly hot water heater). Completed in Plumbing Shop, not accomplished in HVAC. Moving current HVAC PM from contractors to in-house is more likely.
  • Convert at least one or two of the nine pending steam boilers to hot water boilers. Completed at Mission and Wherry Elementary Schools. Highland High School in planning.

2014-15 Goals

  • Provide training to the remaining Plumbing technicians yet to be certified in backflow prevention inspection and testing.
  • Implement new Plumbing Shop PM to clean out sewer sanitary lines and storm drains with the jetter previously used only for emergencies. The jetter provides a high pressure washing system to address the heightened need as newer systems being connected to existing systems is resulting in increased backups. The PM for sewer lines will help reduce sewer back-up emergency calls dramatically.
  • Replace the multi-zone heating and cooling unitsat Del Norte High School’s Performing Arts Center.
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