When students at T.H. Rogers School are dismissed for the day, Thomas Winston’s shift is just getting started.
As a plant operator, Winston works nights, but looks forward to the time when he gets to cross paths with the elementary and middle school students as they make their way home.
Sometimes he simply greets them with a warm hello, other times he likes to give advice and prepare them for the outside world.
you follow Eliot Elementary School Plant Operator Irma Martinez along on her
new cleaning route, you’ll see her clean and disinfect the school from
wall-to-wall — figuratively and literally.
part of her new duties, Martinez is required to clean and sanitize restrooms
and high touch surfaces every hour. It includes walls, door handles, light
switches, faucets, cafeteria tables, and anything else young students may touch
that could harbor viruses.
“I try to help the students as fast as I can,” Martinez said. “That’s why I don’t work by myself. I work with my team.”
From the moment a severe storm is predicted to make landfall
along the Texas Gulf Coast, Facilities,
Maintenance, and Operations staff are among the first to spring into action.
Crews place sandbags around flood-prone campuses. Generators are checked and
filled with fuel. Pump systems are inspected to make sure they are operational.
“As long as we don’t have a power outage
in the area, the pumps should carry all the water that could cause more damage
down the road,” said North Maintenance Plumbing Team Lead Kenneth Wesley,
who oversees the dispatch of plumbers to campuses when faced with a severe weather
HISD plant operator at Field Elementary, Maria Santana has always worked hard
to keep her school clean and safe. When students return to campus on Oct. 19,
she’ll work even harder to do so.
As part of enhanced cleaning procedures, HISD custodians are required to target high touch surfaces every hour. This includes continuous sanitization of sink faucets, handrails, and desks using a host of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even emergency basis.
how to clean,” Santana said. “But now it’s going to be about the details.
Hitting those high touch areas like doorknobs.”
When the air conditioning at Atherton Elementary School was running after hours, Direct Digital Control Field Technician Dustin Agnew headed to the campus to find out why.
Agnew first checked the master control panel and the variable-frequency drives, making sure everything was set to “auto.” He then went outside to inspect the chillers and quickly found the problem — both were running, but only one was supposed to be on.
“I enjoy figuring out what’s wrong, because it could be so many different elements,” he said.
Crossing Guard Charlethia Vaughn is nearly a permanent fixture at the corner of Walnut Bend Lane and Briar Forest Drive during the school year.
Every morning and afternoon, she is there to help Walnut Bend Elementary School students and their parents cross the busy street — even when the Texas heat is nearly unbearable, when the skies are pouring rain, or when it’s so cold, her fingers get numb.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” she said. “This community has really embraced me.”
When Hurricane Harvey hit, Facilities Services Security Maintenance Dispatcher Kenneth Johnson left behind his home and relocated to the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, where he could monitor and serve the district.
“It was kind of scary,” Johnson said, recalling images captured on security cameras when the storm hit. “Water was going up the hallways.”
As the flood waters rose, some HISD locations lost their security camera feeds, but Johnson kept calm and helped organize response logistics, which included determining where to send technicians for maintenance.
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Thomas Middle School is getting a facelift this summer thanks to the help of the Houston Independent School District Facilities Services team.
The school is being updated to accommodate incoming middle school students from Woodson, which is transitioning this summer from a prekindergarten through eighth-grade campus to a prekindergarten through fifth-grade academy.
“I am excited for the students,” newly appointed Principal Vernitra Shivers said, noting that she was excited to see the dated campus get an update. “We will be growing in numbers over the summer, so this is needed.”
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In the wake of historic flooding across the Houston area this week, the HISD community has rallied to help in a number of ways, including assisting with the bus evacuations of residents in the Greenspoint area and setting up two school-based shelters on a moment’s notice.
The HISD Board of Education will receive a report Thursday that updates the district’s long-term facilities plan and recommends several school construction and renovation projects that could be funded through a bond program.
Thursday’s meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th Street), is for discussion purposes. No action is expected to be taken on a possible bond election until July or August. The next possible date for a bond election is Nov. 6, 2012.
School construction and renovation work approved by Houston Independent School District voters in 2007 is nearing completion on budget. So far, HISD has opened 16 new or replacement schools under that bond program, 6 more new schools are under construction, and 2 more are in the planning stage. More than 100 HISD campuses have undergone renovations so far. Click here for more detailed information about the work completed under the 2007 bond program.
Thursday’s report will be presented by representatives from Parsons, an engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm hired by the district in March to update the comprehensive facilities assessment that was conducted in 2007.
The board workshop will be carried live on HISD’s website and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T Channel 99.