Schools are more than learning institutions. They are a collection of buildings and grounds that protect students from the elements and give them a safe place to spend their days learning. The school’s maintenance manager is one of the key people who help create and maintain a secure, comfortable environment so the school can operate as intended.
School district maintenance managers have many responsibilities that cover a diverse list of areas and require many different skill sets. Their responsibilities may vary depending on the district's size, number of schools, the school facilities' condition, and age. Other factors include priorities or local needs based on considerations such as the time of year and weather preparedness. The following areas cover the school maintenance manager’s key responsibilities.
1) Inspect Facilities
Proper school and facility maintenance is driven by needs that staff may have uncovered during regular inspections. School district maintenance manager responsibilities include inspecting the facilities to discover existing problems and assess the need for repairs and current maintenance. Regular inspections also provide insight on how school buildings, parking lots, other facilities, and components such as the stormwater management system perform and hold up to the elements over time. For example, a clogged storm drain catch basin may not seem like a big problem during the dry summer but could cause flooded classrooms during a surprise rainstorm if the rainwater cannot flow effectively down the storm drain.
The knowledge managers gain from inspections factors into refining their plans and budgets for future maintenance. Inspections also aid in identifying upcoming needs, such as an equipment upgrade or roof replacement, enabling the manager to build those costs into the school district’s budget. Another important outcome of regular inspections is verifying that the schools and other facilities comply with regulations such as required health and safety standards.
2) Preventative Maintenance
School districts often deal with limited funding. Preventative maintenance is an important way to minimize costs preemptively by avoiding breakdowns and expensive emergency repairs.
The school district maintenance manager must develop and implement a plan and schedule for preventative maintenance that covers all district facilities, equipment, and grounds.
3) Emergency Response Plans
The manager must set up emergency response plans and protocols to respond to maintenance emergencies. Accidents happen, even with a robust preventative maintenance program. For example, a significant storm can cause broken tree branches that can fall on school buildings and other areas. Equipment may break down without warning, and school buildings and other facilities can suffer from vandalism or extreme events such as earthquakes or fires. The school’s maintenance manager must have a response plan in place to handle each of these situations.
4) Initiatives for Sustainability
Sustainability initiatives continue to grow in importance, and schools are doing their part to protect and conserve the environment. Some types of sustainability include natural methods of rainwater control, for example, which reduces the burden on the school’s stormwater management infrastructure while enhancing water quality. This action may lead to decreased costs for repairing and maintaining the stormwater system. Other initiatives can reduce energy consumption and find ways to integrate more environmentally friendly energy sources. The school maintenance manager must develop, plan, and implement these and other sustainability measures to reduce the schools’ environmental impacts in different areas by creating more environmentally friendly maintenance and operating practices.
The school maintenance manager serves as a primary point of contact for all things maintenance. This individual must interface with school administrators, staff, vendors and the public regarding issues or concerns with maintenance. The manager must provide regular updates and feedback and address specific maintenance problems or concerns.
6) Manage Staff
Maintaining school facilities requires managing regular maintenance staff, outside contractors, and specialized vendors. The maintenance manager must oversee and handle the hiring and training of these individuals. They must also schedule and supervise these workers in their daily activities. Resource allocation is another responsibility, and maintenance managers often use contractors for specialized jobs and to free up staff resources for other work.
7) Manage Projects
The school district’s maintenance manager is often tasked with overseeing larger maintenance projects. This job can include building the project budget, vetting and selecting vendors, and creating a project timeline. The manager must also typically oversee the staff to complete the project and communicate information and updates to all invested parties.
8) Health and Safety Compliance
One of the many important items of a school district maintenance manager's responsibilities is ensuring that the district meets all compliance requirements for health and safety regulations. Regulations receive constant updates, and as new regulations become approved, they create a need for the manager to stay aware of the ever-changing requirements.
To stay compliant, the manager may need to undertake new projects, create new procedures or alter existing ones. School districts typically must comply with health and safety regulations at the local, state, and federal levels. The maintenance manager has the responsibility of ensuring that all maintenance meets or exceeds these regulations.
School districts must often work within financial constraints, and budgeting is necessary for maintenance managers to plan and control costs. The manager may prepare and manage an overall budget for the maintenance department while creating smaller or more detailed budgets for specific initiatives. Individual project budgets help keep the project costs on track, while the overall budget ensures the cost-effective allocation of financial resources across all maintenance functions.
10) Records for Maintenance
School district maintenance manager responsibilities include keeping detailed records of all performed maintenance. Keeping historical records enables staff to review the frequency, cost and outcomes of previous maintenance and use this information to plan for future work.
In addition to documenting all maintenance work, another important component is maintaining records on warranties for performed work and equipment and tracking equipment lifecycles to build into a routine maintenance and replacement plan.
11) Vendor Relations
School districts may need employees with the expertise for maintenance or repair work. Some larger projects may also require additional temporary staff who stay only for the duration. For example, school districts that fund improvements through local municipal bond funding may outsource the job of the school’s bond manager to a contractor with that specific expertise.
The maintenance manager must source potential, high-quality vendors and manage existing relationships. Vendors can include external contractors who provide various services, materials suppliers, and other service providers.
Contract Out Stormwater System Management
School maintenance managers have a great deal of responsibility. Well-trained staff and high-quality contractors help carry out the important work to ensure schools stay clean, safe and well-maintained. Effective maintenance is timely, compliant, and uses up-to-date techniques, among other aspects.
School maintenance managers can do their part to protect the schools, community and environment by creating an effective and efficient maintenance program. If you need a stormwater maintenance contractor with the expertise to put your stormwater system maintenance on autopilot while working within your budget, look no further. For a cleaner, safer stormwater management system, contact the professionals at Catch All Environmental today.