FARMINGTON – It’s crunch week.

Buildings are cleaned and the buses are ready.

SAD 9 custodians are finishing up a long list of summer projects to get schools ready to open next week.

The first day of school for kindergarten through ninth-grade students is Wednesday, Aug. 30, with all students attending Thursday, Aug. 31.

David Leavitt, SAD 9 support service director since July 1, has been overseeing the preparation of buses and school buildings and grounds.

“It’s very busy. A lot of projects are going on around the district, Leavitt said Monday. “We’re right out straight. It’s crunch week.”

Asbestos abatement has been done at the Cushing School in Wilton where three classrooms had floor tiles removed and replaced, he said.

Asbestos siding has also been removed from one side of the school and resided with yellow cement board that resembles clapboards.

The roof at Cushing School and the gym roof Academy Hill School, also in Wilton, have been replaced, Leavitt said.

Solar panels were taken off the side facing the main entrance to Academy Hill were removed, a wall built out and Styrofoam insulation installed before brick red cement board.

An underground fuel tank was removed and another tank is now in a fireproof enclosed room near the boiler room at the school, Leavitt said.

Rugs in five classrooms at Cascade Brook School were removed and replaced by floor tiles.

Each school now has video surveillance cameras installed inside and outside.

New fencing has been installed around the athletic fields at Mt. Blue Middle School.

Those are just some of the projects custodians have been working on this summer between driving students to summer school.

They’re finishing up state inspections on the buses that have been cleaned and waxed inside and out, Leavitt said.

“The crew works really hard to be able to pull it all together,” Leavitt said of transportation/maintenance employees.

As for Leavitt, he said, he’s enjoying his new position. He was formerly transportation director but took over buildings and grounds supervision when former supervisor David Gould retired June 30.

“There is no idle time,” Leavitt said.

He starts his day at 5:15 a.m. and is usually out by 5 or 6 p.m.

Leavitt oversees 39 buses that travel 2,800 miles a day and 10 buildings including eight schools.

His assistant, Ray Cardona, a former facilities manager of MBNA, is focusing this year on learning the transportation system, Leavitt said.

That way both men will know what is going on in both maintenance and transportation.

The schools “really look good. Absolutely,” Leavitt said.

Though the money for maintenance and summer projects were reduced after an error in state funding was discovered early on in the budget process, the district scaled back its projects.

“We reduced projects were going to do initially so we did a piece of the project so we still could move forward with maintenance,” Leavitt said.

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