School may not be in session, but Great Bend USD 428 administrators and certain other staff continue to work over the winter break, including transportation and maintenance workers. Superintendent Khris Thexton recently commented on current and future projects in the buildings, some taking place over the holiday.
On Monday, an engineer visited the Panther Activity Center to look at the boiler, Thexton said.
There have been issues with the boiler at the PAC since it was built some 10 years ago, Maintenance Director Dirk Davis said. “We can’t keep it running.” Over the years, local vendors have worked on it and replaced parts, and a representative from the home office “back east” took a look at it.
After the engineer’s inspection on Monday, Thexton said there was nothing new to share. “We are waiting for their report.”
Another project taking place during the break is the replacement of 11 interior doors at Park Elementary School. The doors were in bad shape and not up to fire codes, Davis said. Contractors from Brentwood Builders are in the building this week to add new fire-rated doors with steel frames. New doorknobs with push-button locks for intruder protection replace the old deadbolt hardware.
Thexton reported on these and other projects at the Dec. 9 school board meeting. One future project that is being studied is replacing the walkie-talkies used in the buildings and on buses. Thexton said he is looking at the cost to upgrade to 800 MHz radios.
“It’s a safety upgrade as well,” he noted. Public safety radio systems, as well as private radio systems, operate in the 800 MHz band and some products enable two-way radio connection to 911, allowing emergency services personnel and school officials to communicate during an incident. Because the radios use the 800 MHz towers, a USD 428 bus driver in Liberal could have two-way communication with staff in Great Bend.
Other future projects include upgrading carpeting at Great Bend High School this summer and new lighting for the GBHS Auditorium, Thexton said.