Schools go from dull and dusty to dazzling

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - From the lawn and landscaping outside to the furniture and floors inside, every corner on all ten campuses in the Gulfport School District is being wiped-down and cleaned-up.

"We clean buildings from head to toe. When you think about clean, we talk about cleaning blinds, windows," said Tom Hardaway, Chief Operations Officer for the Gulfport School District.

The floors also need a lot of treatment.  They take quite a beating during the school year.  So the moment students start their summer break in May, custodians get right to work.

"We bring it down to the bare tile and bring it back up with at least five coats of floor finish," said Hardaway.  "Carpentry, painting, H-VAC, whatever projects we have set up for them, we tackle those during the summertime."

While cleaning crews and maintenance teams work year round to keep schools looking as pristine as possible, summer is their most hectic time.

"Over a school year, things they get dirty.  They get worn out.  So yeah, this is probably the most arduous task," said Hardaway.

But custodians understand that clean schools are vital to children's education.

"If we have clean campuses, safe campuses, our students will take more care in helping us maintain our buildings," Hardaway said.

They have to finish the job by July 31st.  Already, many hallways and classrooms are changing from dull and dusty to shiny and tidy.

"Some of the looks and expressions on their faces: Wow!  It's magic! How does this happen?  It's far from magic," Hardaway said with a laugh.

Students will see the transformations for themselves when school starts in three weeks.  Most schools in south Mississippi start on either August 5th or 6th.

Remember, several school districts are restructuring their campuses this year, so parents should check with their child's school for registration dates and start times.

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