Summer projects improve school safety, appearance
Summer projects improve school safety, appearance
Posted on 08/25/2015

New roofs, carpeting, paint, furniture, earthquake safety improvements, and a districtwide classroom renumbering system are among a list of facility improvements under way since school let out in June.


Many of the improvements are being funded with money approved by voters in the 2014 school facility improvements and technology upgrades levy.


New paint, carpeting, and furniture

Waller Road Elementary 


One of the most notable facility improvements completed this summer is at Waller
Road Elementary.


Pressure washing began the middle of last month, followed by a fresh coat of paint on the aging building’s exterior.


Students and staff will also return this fall to find new carpeting throughout the school, as well as newly purchased student and teacher desks, computer lab tables, and multipurpose room chairs.


New furniture has also been installed in the main office and some smaller offices and meeting rooms.



“Much of the furniture was looking pretty sad,” said Mike Meadows, the district’s director of construction. “The improvements will be a significant update to the school.”


In addition to the carpeting, paint, and furniture, workers also removed overgrown shrubbery around the school and replaced it with new landscaping, Meadows said.


The school improvements were funded with a combination of school levy money and funds the school board agreed in June to transfer from the district’s general fund to the capital projects fund.


Earthquake safety improvements

Puyallup High


It’s been 57 years since the current Puyallup High School gym opened to students and staff, and recent studies have shown the facility to be in need of earthquake safety improvements.


Puyallup High is one of the last buildings in this district targeted for repairs based on a 1998 and 2002 seismic study of district facilities, Meadows said.


The improvement project included exposing sections of the gym ceiling, removing or re-routing systems such as water piping, heating and cooling, and wiring, adding seismic supports, and then replacing the various piping and other systems, Meadows said.


The project was included in the 2014 school facility improvements and technology upgrades levy.


In a related seismic project, workers completed structural improvements this summer on the Wildwood Elementary School play shed, Meadows said.


Roof replacements

Brouillet and Ridgecrest elementary schools and central kitchen


Voter-approved school levy money also paid to replace the roof at Brouillet and Ridgecrest elementary schools and the school district’s central kitchen.


Strings of bright yellow plastic flags stretched across the Ridgecrest Elementary roof early last month to mark work under way on the South Hill school’s aging roof.


Not long after that project began, roofers arrived to begin tearing off the old and installing the new roofs at Brouillet Elementary on the south end of the district and the district’s central kitchen on South Hill just west of Costco.


Caring for a school roof is much like caring for the roof on a home. Over the years, wind, rain, and other factors can result in leaks or other maintenance issues that need to be repaired.


At some point, the roof finally outlives its normal life span and needs to be replaced, said Rudy Fyles, chief operations officer.


Ridgecrest Elementary, located near Shaw and Military roads on South Hill, opened in 1981. Brouillet Elementary, located in the Gem Heights development on South Hill, opened in 1990.


The central kitchen, located on 39th Avenue Southwest on South Hill adjacent to the district’s Information Technology Center and warehouse, was built in 1997.


The three roofs installed this summer are each designed to last 20 to 25 years, Meadows said.


Classroom renumbering system



New room numbers have been assigned to every classroom in the district, effective this fall.


The new numbers are part of an organized wayfinding system funded as part of an emergency response systems grant.


The signage is designed to help students and visitors, as well as law enforcement, easily and quickly find their way to locations within a school.


Plans are for most of the junior high and high school classrooms to have new numbers permanently posted by the first day of school on September 8, Fyles said.


Replacing the permanent signage at elementary schools will follow early this fall; however, students and families will see new room numbers temporarily posted on sheets of paper next to the old room numbers outside classroom doors.


Wayfinding signage similar to what one might see in a hotel — posted signs near the hallway entries, for example, that identify room numbers with arrows directing people to their location — are also being installed in each of the district’s 32 schools.


Exterior painting

Emerald Ridge High


Numerous areas of Emerald Ridge High School’s exterior walls will be repainted starting this month. The surfaces had weathered since the building opened 15 years ago.


This project wasn’t scheduled until summer of 2016; however, it was moved up to this summer because of savings on previous school levy projects.