By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
School Work Wraps Up
An unexpected - and potentially costly - water issue put a damper on some other summer projects, but the basics have been covered as the Escalon Unified School District looks to reopen for the 2012-2013 school year.

Rick John, the district's Director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation, said the failure of a well, used for running the high school's irrigation system, has prompted the school to tie in to city water for sprinkler use. It already gets its drinking water from the city system.

Crews are evaluating the status of the well and whether it would be feasible, logistically and financially, to repair the problem or whether the district will have to consider a different option for maintaining the grass and playing fields at the high school site.

While that work is continuing, John said crews are putting the finishing touches on jobs at other sites within the district, preparing for the Aug. 20 first day of classes. A variety of projects, from carpet cleaning to painting to minor renovations, have been handled at Collegeville, Dent, Farmington and Van Allen elementary schools, El Portal Middle School and both Vista High and Escalon High School.

The routine maintenance and cleaning will have all sites with that first day sparkle, with waxing of floors and a freshening up of classrooms.

Also, the district's MOT, Maintenance, Operations and Transportation, center - also often referred to as the bus garage - on Stanislaus Street has gotten an overhaul this summer as well. District employee Kurt Enochs served as lead designer on the project, said John, with an expansion of the facility for added office space as well as some renovation to make better use of existing buildings.

"Most of it has been done in house, by our own staff," John said of the expansion work.

The changes will allow for better traffic flow, more ease in utilizing work stations in the office and provide room for future expansion.

John said the district also benefited this summer from the work of several youths, brought on board for 30 hours a week through the San Joaquin County WorkNet Summer Youth Employment Program.

"They work six hours a day, five days a week," John said of the young employees getting jobs through the county's Employment and Economic Development Department.

A dozen youth workers have been on the summer staff, working at all sites in the district. Three were assigned primarily to the high school and three to John's MOT unit, with two at Dent, two more at Van Allen and two at El Portal.

"They've done a great job for us," John said. "They have been working very hard."