Local News

Summer projects underway at schools

SEBRING - Instead of student desks, air-conditioning and heating duct work filled a large second-grade classroom Monday at Fred Wild Elementary School. The entire second-grade wing looked like a work zone with the ceiling tiles removed and large bundles of blue communication cables being strung above the drop-ceiling framework. With school out for summer, it's summer project time for the school district's Facilities and Management Information Systems departments. Fred Wild Elementary Principal Laura Waldon said that while the children are away, the refurbishing project is underway in Building 400, which houses two computer labs and six classrooms.
"It's an old building so they were taking out some wallpaper and they have been working on some duct work and ceiling tiles," she said. Waldon described the wallpaper as an "old 1970s textured" design. The walls will be repainted. The refurbishing project involves more than the aesthetics of the classrooms and computer labs. Management Information Systems workers Stan Shands and James Hamilton used stepladders to reach into the ceiling to upgrade the communication cables. Pointing to a 2-by-4 foot switch box with multiple cable connections, Shands said, the box contains all the switching, fiber-optics, etc. to support and maintain the technology network in the classrooms. "For instance, this is increasing from what used to be a hundred-based systems to gigabit systems," Shands said. "So that is obviously upgrading their speeds, too, and that is what those switches there are capable of doing. So it's a major increase for them in their actual speeds." Shands and Hamilton installed Cat (category) 6 cable from the switch box to various drop points in the computer labs and classrooms. Shands explained that the CAT 6 is a step above the originally installed CAT 5 and CAT 5e cable. Upgrading technology is an ongoing project, he noted. In the adjoining room, Roger Castillo, of Coast to Coast Mechanical, Sebring, prepared to replace the old fiberglass duct insulation with new 24-gauge sheet metal duct work. Avon Park Middle School Principal Katina Kramer said painters were doing a few "odd jobs" at her school recently. Clay (ballfield fill dirt) has been delivered to the school and will hopefully be spread soon on the physical education field, she said. "Our custodial staff here does a thorough cleaning every summer," Kramer added. mvalero@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5826