Construction, maintenance workers stretch to prep for first day of classes

While most workers have spent the summer pursuing at least some rest and relaxation, it’s been just the opposite for hundreds of construction crews and maintenance workers toiling up to the last minute readying Dallas ISD schools. They’ve been racing the clock to complete projects before students pour back into the buildings on August 28.

Their work has ranged from relatively modest jobs like paint and window installation to asbestos removal, roof repairs, and major classroom additions. At virtually every district campus, workers have tweaked air conditioning units, shampooed carpets, replaced light bulbs and touched nearly every nook and cranny of schools getting ready for the big day.

At W.T. White High School, construction workers spent the summer completing work begun last June on a three-story, 50,800-square-foot addition. The new wing includes 27 classrooms, three science labs, teachers’ lounges, and spaces for custodians. The crew formed to construct the addition numbered some 250, including electricians, plumbers, heating and air conditioning specialists, concrete contractors, and tradesmen experienced in cabinetry, painting, drywall, and landscaping, among others.

The two team members most responsible for keeping the job moving forward on time and within budget are Project Manager Phil Garcia and Superintendent Rob Cortez. They agree that two major challenges of such large projects are keeping everyone safe and mindful of safety and building a working team at the same time you’re constructing a building. “If you don’t have a solid team, you don’t have anything,” said Cortez.

After weeks, months and holidays spent working alongside dozens of contractors, conforming the structure to the architect’s vision, ensuring the quality of materials and labor, and making sure everyone gets paid, Garcia said the biggest payoff is the pride of a job well done. “We’re all proud of what we accomplished and of our commitment to our client, the Dallas ISD.”

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