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ACSU position would oversee maintenence of 7 town schools

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) is considering creating a new, $73,449-per-year position to help the district’s seven elementary schools maintain their respective buildings and plan for their long-term facilities needs.
As the Addison Independent went to press on Wednesday, five ACSU elementary schools had endorsed the idea of a “facility maintenance manager,” a person who would, among other things, be tasked with:
•  Developing and implementing a preventative maintenance schedule for the schools’ facilities.
•  Rolling up his or her sleeves to perform direct maintenance services, when possible, within the buildings.
•  Putting together a long-range maintenance program for the buildings.
•  Maintaining a capital plan.
•  Making recommendations on needed facility upgrades.
•  Maintaining school security and safety systems.
•  Assisting in development of an annual buildings and grounds budget for the schools.
•  Staying current with applicable building codes and ensuring compliance.
Laura Nassau, ACSU business manager, explained that individual elementary school principals are currently responsible for oversight of their respective facilities, even though they might not possess much training in building management.
“Sometimes service is planned; many times it is in response to an emergency,” Nassau wrote in a Sept. 4 memo to school officials describing the new position and reasons it should be considered.
ACSU Superintendent Peter Burrows said the maintenance manager position should not be considered a luxury, but rather a key administrator whose work would help ensure the safety of students while recommending projects that could save the district a lot of money in the long run.
“It comes down to student safety,” Burrows said, adding the new position could virtually pay for itself through efficiencies and preventative maintenance spearheaded by the manager.
“You have to balance everything out,” Burrows said.
The ACSU already has some experience with a facility manager. Bruce MacIntire works in that capacity for UD-3, the district that includes Middlebury Union middle and high schools. His day-to-day activities include reviewing vendor contracts, developing an ongoing capital improvement program for the two campuses, anticipating facility needs, making sure safety and security systems are functioning well, and inspecting buildings and grounds.
“It’s someone who can say, ‘This is an easy fix … or this is something you need a contractor to look at,’” MacIntire said. He added the position can help a community ensure that one of its most prized assets — its elementary school — maintains its value and functionality.
If endorsed by the ACSU board, the salary for the new position would be apportioned to ACSU-member schools based on the square footage of their facilities. For example, Middlebury would pay the largest share ($31,104) because its Mary Hogan Elementary School facilities cover 72,500 square feet. Cornwall would be assessed the smallest share ($5,878) because Bingham Memorial School spans only 13,700 square feet.
The other schools that the facilities manager would cover would be Bridport Central, Ripton Elementary, Shoreham Elementary, Salisbury Community and Weybridge Elementary.
“As an assessed position, districts pay a share of the cost regardless of the amount of service provided,” Nassau said in her memo. “In any given year, a school may receive more or less time based upon the needs of each building while the costs are smoothed from year to year.”
The facility maintenance manager would report to Nassau. The ideal candidate’s qualifications should include a minimum of five years of experience in maintenance and/or trades and operating a business; a working knowledge of carpentry, plumbing, electrical, roofing and waste management; extensive knowledge of all building systems and current relevant technologies; the ability to climb ladders to 50 feet to work on roofs; and the ability to juggle several assignments at once.
ACSU officials said there is no specific timetable for hiring the facility manager. All seven elementary school boards and the ACSU board must first endorse the position.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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