Summer Gives NJ Schools Some Time to Shine
The students are gone, but work continues at schools across New Jersey.
The buildings use this time of year to complete major projects and perform a massive scrub down before September rolls around again.
But some slick scheduling is still needed because all schools are not necessarily a ghost town. Kids and adults are in and out as part of day camps and athletic practices.
"There's a lot of things, project-wise, that we really cannot do while we have kids in the building," said Keith Gourlay, executive director of the New Jersey School Buildings and Grounds Association. "For instance, roofing. We can't do any kind of hot asphalt roofing while the building is occupied."
The job emits toxic fumes and and an overpowering odor that can lead to headaches, rashes and possibly cancer, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
But many schools have started to shy away from that roofing system, opting towards materials that don't cause as much commotion.
Schools must also be cleared for jobs involving asbestos removal.
To accommodate any time-sensitive projects, Gourlay said, districts can shift their program locations from one school to another.
"That kind of decision-making goes on all day long," he said.
In addition to special repair or construction jobs, a cleanup of the entire school is usually on the agenda for summer, Gourlay noted.
Every room, he said, is "taken apart and put back together" and "cleaned top to bottom."
"Floors are waxed, floors are cleaned," he said. "We want it to shine when everybody gets back. How long that shine lasts is sometimes a question."