School painting a 50-year cycle

NANAIMO: It takes roughly half a century for school district workers to paint every school in the area.

It takes roughly half a century for Nanaimo school district workers to paint every school in the district.

Trustees learned at a recent business committee meeting that one sign painter and 3.45 full-time equivalent maintenance painters are responsible for the district’s 31 elementary schools, seven secondary schools, two alternate schools, and various other buildings and facilities, such as the district administration centre and Rotary Bowl.

Two of these painters deal with graffiti, work orders and school-funded projects, with three left to work on interior paint, states a report compiled by Brian Hackwood, the district’s maintenance supervisor. This staffing level translates into a 52-year cycle to complete all interior painting – it takes about 30 years to finish all elementary schools, about 20 years to finish all secondary schools (each requires three to five years to complete), and two years to paint the interiors of alternate schools.

The information was compiled at the board’s request after trustees fielded some complaints from the public about the amount of time it takes to get new paint on the walls of a school, said Jamie Brennan, school board chairman.

Trustees were glad to see there is a well organized plan that is followed rigorously, he added.

“We take the cleanliness and the upkeep of our schools seriously and we have a plan,” said Brennan. “It’s what we can afford, that’s the bottom line. It would be nice to have a bunch of new schools that didn’t have to be painted for a while.”

Last year, the painting crew received almost 400 requests to cover up graffiti at schools and 221 work orders, which include vandalism, health and safety issues and touch-ups, were processed.

The crew has painted the interiors of five elementary schools since the 2004/05 school year.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said exterior painting is funded through the district’s annual facilities grant and the district hires additional painters – usually about three painters plus one of the district’s year-round staff.

The district tries to paint building exteriors once every 10 years, she added.