Kudos to the School Board & Administrators – Facilities Audit Report

I attended a school board work session on Wednesday, September 12.  At this session, Steve Burt, Director of Operations and Maintenance and Rick Ring, Executive Director of Services and Support presented the board with a first draft of a facilities audit report.  There was a story in the Times-Call about this on September 11.

The idea behind the facilities audit report is to shift from a "react to problems" to "maintain things before they get real bad – and real expensive."  Currently only about 21% of maintenance is of the preventive variety.  Non-scheduled maintenance constitutes 56% ofthe work.  The rest of the work is construction.  The goal is to increase the percentage of preventive work to 60 or 70 percent.  Non-scheduled maintenance would drop accordingly.

The next step in this process is to train building staff to do preventative assessments.  This will accelerate our ability to spot issues before they’re severe.

The preventative approach makes a lot of sense.  Think of it similar to preventive medicince – if you exercise, eat well and get regular physicals, you can spot troubles before they’re too serious.

This approach has the potential to save the district thousands if not millions of dollars over time.  We’ll never know how much it saves.  When you go for physicals and detect cancer in the earliest stages, you can’t quantify how much pain, suffering and medical expense you’ve saved.  But it’s potentially a great sum.  This approach to maintenance is analogous.

Steve Burt’s and Rick Ring’s presentation gave me confidence that they’re on the right track.  Administrators and board members should receive high praise for shifting our district’s approach toward preventative maintenance rather than reactive.

Now some people might ask why the district is just doing this now.  Well, that’s a no win game.  Any problem or inadequate system that the district corrects could be questioned with the cynical view of, "why haven’t you done that already."

When we meet someone who has lost weight and looks more fit, we typically say "congratulations."  We don’t typically say, "Why didn’t you quit eating junk food five years ago and take the weight off then."

That’s why I say Kudos for getting us on the path of preventive maintenance.

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