Schools ready for new year

School buildings in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District are getting their last-minute makeovers in preparation for the new academic year.

Rick Hostetler, the director of buildings and grounds for the district, told members of the school board during their Aug. 10 work session that virtually all the projects planned for this summer are complete or will be by Aug. 31, the first day of class.

Of the planned projects, only the renovations for the health, training and music rooms at Charles F. Patton Middle School need final touches, but Hostetler said they will be finished in time, possibly as soon as the end of this week.

However, two unexpected situations at Unionville High School and Patton required attention.

Hostetler said a couple of toilets at UHS ran unknowingly during a three-day weekend.

“We ended up with substantial flooding on the third floor of the high school, which travelled down to the second floor and down to the first floor,” Hostetler said. “We’re pretty well cleaned up and pretty much back in operation.”

Some computer equipment had to be replaced, but damage is still being assessed. He estimated the cost of all the damage to be about $100,000, but the district carries a $5,000 deductible so insurance will cover 95 percent of the cost if his estimate is correct.

Another unexpected situation was the failure of a rooftop air conditioning and heating unit that serves the middle school cafeteria. A repair would cost about $7,000-$10,000, Hostetler said, but a never-used unit was found in Baltimore.

He said that unit is three years old but, since it’s never been used, it will be an acceptable replacement.

“It’s brand new. It still has the packing equipment,” Hostetler said. “The replacement unit and any additional cost will probably be about $15,000 to $17,000.”

While the replacement costs more than repairs, the old unit is about 18 years old and the other old units will have to be replaced sooner rather than later because of repair costs.

There will be no warranty on the replacement, but delivery, crane service to put it on the roof, startup from the factory, and a guarantee that it will operate properly are included in the purchase price, Hostetler said.

Planned summer projects that were completed include carpeting of one-third of Hillendale Elementary School. The remaining two-thirds will be done during the next two summers. All of the lighting and ceiling tiles have also been replaced at Hillendale.

Window installation at the middle school is complete, about 80 percent of the parking lot has been repaved, and parking lot lighting has been replaced with LED fixtures, Hostetler added.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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