St. Regis School gets a facelift

| October 14, 2020 12:00 AM

By CHUCK BANDEL

Valley Press

In what has become a year of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 situation, St. Regis schools have found a way to create positive changes.

For several years, a large section of roof had begun to fall into disrepair, allowing water to drip into the building’s interior.

Carpeting in key areas of the structure was showing signs of wear and tear.

Storage capacity in the school’s kitchen facility had reached its limits.

So, over the summer break and into the first part of the school year, St. Regis Superintendent Joe Steele, administration and staff worked to correct the deficiencies, update equipment and stop the leaks.

The first thing tackled was the roof. While sections of roof had been replaced over the last few years, a large swath covering much of the rear and entry way was past its prime.

“The roof was lacking insulation and had been leaking into areas like the front office,” Steele said. “Over the late part of the summer we had the old roof replaced with a rubberized material. There was also installation of new gutters. Now we have a roof that should last at least 20 years.”

The company which installed the new roof will inspect and do any maintenance on the new surface as part of the deal, which was financed by a Delivering Local Assistance grant that many area schools have used for updates, expansion and repairs.

A total of 12,500 square feet of roofing was replaced and 3,400 square feet of insulation was installed.

With the overhead problem under control, attention was turned to the overtaxed freezer and refrigeration situation that had existed in the school’s kitchen and cafeteria area.

New equipment and repairs have approximately doubled the available storage space for fresh and frozen foods, giving the school a better ability to provide fresh meals that have a longer shelf life, Steele said. The school now has freezer and refrigerator space inside and just outside the kitchen area.

Another nagging problem that was eliminated involved lighting in the gymnasium and outdoor football field.

“We got new lights for the gym that are far more energy efficient and brighter when in operation,” Steele said. “And we were also able to replace the lights on the football field at the same time.”

Another inside item that needed attention was some areas of carpeting.

“We replaced a lot of the carpeting in 2008,” Steele said. “But there were areas of wear and damage that had become a safety concern. We’ve been slowly chipping away at the problem and now it has all been replaced”.

And with all those problems in the rearview mirror, Steele said a few important improvements remain.

“We still need to replace one of the two boilers used to heat the school and water,” Steele said. “We replaced one a few years ago and will now be focusing on replacing the other.”

Steele said the school, which like many schools across the country has had a challenging time attracting new teachers, may have a partial solution to the problem.

“A lot of the problem with bringing on new staff is the lack of available housing in the area,” he said. “We are working on a teacher housing plan that will hopefully be at least a temporary solution.”

That plan calls for building a four-plex housing unit for teachers on school owned property across the street. That would at least allow new teachers to have a convenient place to stay while they presumably search for permanent housing.

“There have been a lot of challenges but we’ve made good progress on things,” Steele said. “There is an awesome group of teachers and staff here that make this a good place to be.”