STEAM to take part of BRHS cafeteria

Custodial staffing changes announced
Fri, 12/04/2020 - 10:00am

Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District Board of Trustees on Dec. 2 approved expanding science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) makerspace into part of the Boothbay Region High School cafeteria.

Principal Tricia Campbell introduced the concept which grew from partnerships with benefactors on equipment such as the Camaster Stinger II CNC and Jamieson LG-900 laser cutter. Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Keith Laser said another benefactor has stepped forward to cover the roughly $10,000 to build the space.

“We have a number of master teachers who are highly trained and highly effective in education in the STEAM arts and we wanted to look at how (we) can continue to build these programs,” said Campbell. “We want to take that applied physics, the computer programming, robotics, design, engineering, advanced math – the arts studio is right there – take all those pieces that are in one location in our building and really be able to integrate that learning so students can move from one space to another and see that connection and see the results in the application of their learning.”

Campbell said a third of the cafeteria would be ample for a few small pieces of equipment and several programming stations. The only work involved would be building a semi-permanent wall and running extra wiring for more outlets in each wall, said Campbell. Facilities and Transportation Director Dave Benner spoke with Boothbay Harbor Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Smith who said the work and setup would be sound, and would need review by the fire marshal. 

The CSD will be back to its original custodial and maintenance jobs with the start of the new year, Benner announced. Maintenance worker Ron Abbott will retire at the end of the month, with custodian Tom Dewey taking his place. COVID-19 emergency hires Scott Carpenter and Anita Koplau will stay on: Carpenter will move over to regular custodial staff and Koplau will start as an educational technician in January. Both were hired as custodians with CARES Act funds which run out at the end of the month.

“They have been really, really helpful. I've never seen the schools look as clean, smell as good and look as good as they do … Personally, I think we need the (positions) and now that sports has been okayed at least partially right now, there's going to be extra cleaning at night … Now, they’re feeling like there's additional work that they have to do on top of everything else they're already doing.”

The two full-time jobs overlap morning and night shifts providing backup to both schools as regular staff added a second pass of sterilizing to their standard cleaning duties. Salary and benefits for the two jobs cost around $80,000.

Trustees agreed there was little choice but to keep the two jobs  and gave Laser the approval to find money in the budget to fund them through the end of the school year. They also agreed the jobs should be funded in the 2021-2022 budget.

As Haskell and Hall’s work continues on the BRHS addition windows, the company is finding more issues with old caulking, said Benner. “All the vertical seams have fallen apart, the horizontals have lifted and the recommendation is that they caulk around every piece of glass and between every metal.” The extra work costs $18,011 and could be covered by the projects' reserve funds which are just over $57,000, Benner added. “I do think that would be money well spent.” The board directed Benner to add the work.