DC campus gets a summer makeover

Even though the students are away, there is still no time to play for the maintenance staff at Drew Central, who is working to complete much needed repairs all over the campus before classes come back into session on Aug. 19.

“Our maintenance staff is working hard to complete as much of the renovations to campus as possible before students come back in August,” Superintendent Billy Williams said. He said the biggest undertaking on campus is the renovations of the school’s kitchen.

“We will be replacing all the lighting fixtures and ceiling tile in the kitchen preparation area,” Williams said. “All of the kitchen equipment has been removed for clearing and repairs or replacement.”

Williams said the district is considering the possibility of not replacing all the deep fryers because federal meal regulations are leaning more toward baking instead of frying food served to the students.

“In fact, we may need to replace a few of the fryers with oven space because of the new guidelines,” he explained.

He said the flooring will be replaced with non-skid resistance flooring. The new flooring will be either tile or an epoxy poured floor.

“I believe the floor was originally an epoxy poured floor,” Williams said. “We will go with whichever is more economical.”

In an attempt to save money, the renovations are being done in house, by the maintenance staff.

Child Nutrition Program Director Tiffany Bernard said she is looking forward to having the newly renovated space this year.

As for the changes in the National School Lunch Program, Bernard said they aren’t as major as last year’s changes.

“The biggest thing is we  have to have 100 percent whole grain rich food where we only had to have 50 percent last year,” Bernard said. “So, I don’t see that being a big deal because we always try to get whole grain foods anyway.”

In addition to the repairs and new flooring, the cafeteria’s kitchen and serving area will also get a fresh new coat of paint.

The serving area was painted Monday with Pirate red.

The cafeteria is not the only area of the campus that is garnering attention this summer.

Williams said that since the school is concerned with security, the District is installing 90 security cameras throughout the campus this summer.

“The cameras are being placed in the entrances of each building and throughout the hallways,” he said. “Right now, I estimate this project is about 40 percent complete.”

Williams said a new sidewalk has been installed at the middle school and pavement repairs have been done in the bus pick-up and drop off areas.

He said the biggest project is the fire alarm system for the school.

“All new fire alarm panels have been installed, tested and operational as stand alone systems,” he said. “Our district (information technology) personnel will be installing a fiber network and two phone lines to the fire alarm panels.

Previously the fire alarm system had not been up to state fire code and some alarms did not work at all. The board worked with former superintendent Mike Johnston to get the project into the partnership funding program with the Arkansas Department of Education, which will reimburse the school approximately 60 percent of the costs associated with the project.

The fire alarm project was bid out to a contractor because of the specifics required in order for it to be done.

In addition to all these repairs at the school, the Parent Teacher Organization finished the awnings behind the multipurpose building so that middle school students won’t have to walk in the rain to the cafeteria.

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