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Overview of Maintenance and Operations

Our responsibilities are straightforward but require complex considerations and approaches.

M&O’s responsibility is facilities management and the vast majority of properly managing a school district’s facilities (from schools to administrative sites) is maintenance. It is a straightforward notion that requires a multitude of complex considerations and approaches, as portrayed throughout this Report. Following is a brief overview.

No cookie cutter solutions

When a solution is relevant to more than one facility, of course it is applied wherever it fits, however this practice is not typical as there is no typical APS school; every school is unique. M&O faces the growing challenge of maintaining a large collection of old but unique and treasured schools. Older buildings have developed modularly over time and are not easily adaptable to meet current needs. A 1920s era school may have gotten an addition in 1950, which in turn got an addition in 1970, and yet another addition in 1990. The task of caring for these old school buildings, some of which are historically or architecturally significant, at a level that supports contemporary instructional practices that meet the needs of 21st-century learners is substantial. These buildings also face age-related issues such as less efficient HVAC systems that require more attention in ensuring a comfortable indoor climate and keeping utility costs down.

Conversely, maintaining the finely tuned workings of new, more technologically advanced facilities also demands considerable expertise and commitment. While the construction of new school facilities certainly supports today’s high tech teaching methodologies and technology savvy students, even a sparkly new building may have problems with inadequate air circulation which can lead to indoor air quality problems unless remedied. Also, the complex “smart” HVAC and electrical systems require a great deal of tweaking to operate as designed and efficiently.

Smart planning / strategizing critical

While the concerns differ, issues with the schools — regardless of age, type, or size — arise daily and must be addressed daily as to delay invites worsening conditions. Considerable capital investment is squandered when buildings and equipment deteriorate, or warranties become invalidated. Failing to maintain school facilities adequately also discourages future public investment in the education system. M&O does not cut corners in proactively assessing needs, forecasting, and developing and implementing a plan in preparation of meeting the challenges of effective facilities maintenance. It is simply too big a job to be addressed in a haphazard fashion. A sound facilities maintenance plan serves as evidence that school facilities are currently and will continue to be cared for appropriately while not losing sight on the long-range fiscal outlook of the District. Because facilities maintenance planning is constrained by real-world budgets, M&O must often think in terms of trade-offs. Management must frequently weigh routine tasks against preventive maintenance that pays off over the long run, as well as be prepared for emergency responses to broken air conditioners, cracked water pipes, and severe snowstorms – all with unknown price tags.

We're all in this together

The difficult job of planning for school building maintenance is most effective when it relies upon up-to-date information about the condition and use of buildings, campuses, equipment, and personnel. As such, staff members who are intimately involved in the day-to-day assessment, repair, and maintenance of school facilities must also play an active role in the facilities maintenance planning process. Yet facilities maintenance planning is not solely the responsibility of M&O. Effective planning requires coordination of resources and commitment between M&O, Capital Master Plan, and Facilities Design + Construction.

Preserving facilities is about supporting education

School facilities maintenance is concerned about far more than resource management. It is all about providing clean and safe environments for children conducive to the education process. An appropriate and adequate physical setting is mandatory for learning. A classroom with broken windows and cold drafts does not foster student learning. And heating and cooling systems must work properly in maintaining a comfortable climate that fosters student and instructor alertness, attendance, and wellbeing.

Eight service departments drive M&O

M&O serves its important customers, the students, through the following eight departments: Mechanical, Grounds, Structural, Electrical, Building Services, Fleet Maintenance, Environmental Management, and Support Services (accounting function). The Computer Network function, Energy Conservation team, Facility Usage Scheduling function, and secretarial and clerical support staff complete the Division. The Materials Warehouse personnel and Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex maintenance function also report to the M&O Executive Director.

Read about the Service Departments profiles to learn more.