District preps for summer construction

By

The Malletts Bay School will get a new gym floor this summer, replacing 30-year-old tile with a synthetic wood covering. (Photo by Michaela Halnon)

Colchester students and teachers have bid their classrooms farewell for the year, but district business and operations manager George Trieb says he’s already prepping for their return.

“Things get really busy in the summer because it’s the only time we can work on projects,” Trieb said. “From here on out, we’re getting ready for the first day of school.”

The summer construction plans for the district buildings are relatively light this year, Trieb said, compared to the massive renovations to the high school auditorium and science labs that were recently completed.

Still, a new gym floor at Malletts Bay School tops this year’s priority list, costing about $55,000. A synthetic wood-like material will replace the 30-year-old white tile surface that’s currently in place, Trieb said.

The project became increasingly urgent when staff said the slippery and chipped tiles posed a safety hazard. Even after re-gluing particularly troublesome spots, Trieb said folks still felt it was difficult to hold some student activities in the room.

“Safety has to be job No. 1,” Trieb said. “When that topic starts to come up, it gets my attention.”

The flooring vendor, Precision Athletics, will likely begin work at the beginning of August, Trieb said. He and another staff member recently visited the St. Francis Xavier School to take a look at a gym floor the same supplier installed seven years ago.

The new floor in Colchester will also feature the school’s name and osprey mascot, an element absent from the present flooring. Trieb said he plans to meet with MBS principal Julie Benay to settle on specific colors and designs.

“It will be a nice touch to have [the logo] in there. With the whole floor done, it will look beautiful,” Trieb said.

At its last meeting, the selectboard unanimously voted to contribute $10,000 of town money to the project, noting the parks and recreation department frequently uses the space to host camp activities.

“We’re all part of the same community, and we share things back and forth,” Trieb said. “We don’t have a lot of gym space, so [it’s] really at a premium. Having that replaced will be a really nice thing to have.”

Other maintenance projects slated for this summer include revamping a middle school classroom, waxing the floors and cleaning everything from top to bottom. The latter two tasks happen annually, Trieb said.

The school board will weigh another major summer project at its next meeting: repaving the high school parking lot. The Laker Ln. project has an estimated cost of $175,000, according to Trieb.

If approved, Trieb said paving would take place before students return in the fall.