Making Sure the Buildings are Comfortable and the Lights are on
Maintenance and Facilities Coordinator Carl Meyer prefers to stay out of the spotlight. The work done by Carl and his team may not be the first thing you think of when you think about a school day, but it is an absolutely essential part of the day-to-day operations for the school district and keeping students and staff comfortable. It takes a lot of consistent cleaning, fixing, and planning to keep three schools running smoothly and compliant, and thanks to Carl, TJ, Todd and the contracted night crew, Maercker D60 is in good hands.
The day usually begins by pulling up work orders that have been submitted and assigning them to the team. At the beginning of the school year, there can be as many as 30-40 per day with everything from raising desks, providing furniture, fixing a leak, or troubleshooting heat or cooling systems, but as the year goes on, they find a rhythm. The team does as much work as possible themselves, only using subcontractors for larger needs and always keeping taxpayer dollars in mind.
“Every day is different and that is what I love about this job,” said Carl. “I run the maintenance program, take care of compliance issues, and try to fix everything I can. It’s really just about taking care of the day-to-day and making life easy for the teachers and kids.”
Carl meets weekly with Dr. Nugent and CSBO Patrick King to discuss what is going on, potential issues coming up, and planning for future projects. During the summer of 2023, HVAC units were upgraded, old light fixtures were replaced and retrofitted for new LED lights, as well as other projects that are part of the district’s long-term facilities maintenance plan. Emails to staff let them know when and where cranes and crews would be, keeping everyone informed and aware.
By prioritizing projects and always looking at the larger picture of any issue, the team is able to build out a schedule for upgrades and maintenance, and keep the facilities running smoothly. Plans for next summer include more HVAC work, continuing lighting upgrades with grant funds to upgrade ballasts and old light fixtures, and starting to look at roof sections that need repairs.
“If you hit stuff head on as it comes down the pipe, you won’t get overwhelmed.” said Carl. “It’s a juggling act of what is needed and what we can afford and I try to forecast out what might come up and hope for no surprises. We can’t predict everything, but staying ahead of potential issues and taking care of work orders as soon as we can is so essential.”
With more than 30 years of experience in maintenance and seven years at Maercker D60, Carl feels confident to be able to fix most things on his own. When things do go wrong, he is the one who gets the call any time of day via an alarm on his phone or a report of a system not working. He says calls seem to come in threes with issues like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical, but that the work is worth it to make the day better for students.
“I love the kids and just love watching them being goofy and being kids,” said Carl. “If I am having a bad day, I go to Holmes and see the kids and it just makes my day better. When the lights go on and the building is clean, that’s not an accident, it’s a lot of work that gets done every single day and we are happy to do it.”