So Behind!

I have been trying to get set up and well organized before students. But I have been thwarted by problems left and right. Some issues are good and others not so much.

We lost our bond this year in the vote. So our old building that is 30+ years old and has needed remodeling for a while, is back on the back burner again. The district has just been ignoring or band-aiding problems with the theory that we would get a new building soon. Since that isn’t happening now, our principal finally pressured them to fix a bunch of stuff!

For example, our covered walkways between the buildings of our 80’s California styled, multi-building school have serious leaks. In the Pacific Northwest, where it rains all winter and spring, this is horrible and our students get drenched walking from building to building. On some days you would get LESS wet if you walked outside of the walkways to avoid the gutter like down flow streams of water. These have been fixed and repainted looking bright and new and hopefully will keep our kids dry for a change. I am almost hoping for rain to see how well they work, but I will be thankful for our sun right now.

Other great updates including a ton of painting. Classrooms that have never been painted since the building was built, outdoor brick walls that have been tagged with graffiti so often they can’t wash off the evidence anymore and exterior doors that showed through to other layers of old colors all have a fresh new color. Carpets at entryways, stained from years of wet feet, replaced. These all just make the school feel a little fresher.

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Air vent fan replacement

In my classroom, I had to delay set-up till they finished the painting, which was Tuesday of this week. Then they came in to change the fan vents in my room. Super thankful for that because the fans just didn’t work and this will bring more fresh air into my windowless room.

With those things done, I started setting up. I opened my back storage closet to discover yet again a flooded supply room. Why? The room houses a HVAC condensation overflow pump in the ceiling. Every year since I have been there (going on 12 now) I have discovered water damage in this room. It would often be dried again, but showing water stains. The ceiling tiles were a special plastic kind, apparently because this room was designed to hold the dangerous art chemicals that got used back in the day, so no water stains appeared on the ceiling tiles. Maintenance would inspect the roof, thinking it was a rain leak, but could never find anything. It took them a while to figure out that it was this pump in the ceiling that was doing the leaking. By then black mold was growing the ceiling, my laminate covered plywood cupboards were swollen with constant water damage.

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The HVAC water overflow pump that leaks in my storage closet.

Last year, or was it 2 years ago? They fixed/replaced this pump and reservoir to solve the problem. But this year, turns out someone had UNPLUGGED the pump and that is why it had been leaking gallons of water into my room. I still have to decide if I want to rip out these cupboards.

All these boxes and more are water damaged

All these boxes and more are water damaged

So this event took up a lot of my time on Wednesday. Luckily, I had one of my 8th graders in helping me make new menus, table folders, bulletin boards and more. So I have lots done due to her help.

Next, but this is in the good category. My kiln is right in my classroom, not in a separate kiln room. So I can only run it on weekend. And I had concerns about the hood vent not really working well. So they inspected this to discover yes, the vent fan motor was dead, the belt was broken and a number of the brackets that keep it attached were gone. So in addition to replacing and repairing all that, they decided it would be good to build a little room around my kiln. LITTLE is the operative word as it was crammed in the corner surrounded by cupboards already. It will have a little pocket door and help the hood vent work better, plus will deaden some of the noise. So the good news is, I should be able to run the kiln whenever I want and it will be safer. They started doing this yesterday while we were in our beginning of the year staff training (common core close reading and note-taking strategies that we have to use school wide, yippee) and he should finish building today. He will probably be back next week to paint it.

The new kiln room being built.

The new kiln room being built.

So do I have a single center set-up yet? No! I have a ton of new menus and posters ready to laminate, but the laminator is out of plastic!! and the plastic is on backorder!! I don’t want to put up the cool new posters my student made without laminating them because they will just get messed up.

Luckily, we don’t have kids till Wednesday. So I still have a number of days to finish up. So I better stop writing and get to work!

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