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Team Cleaning

Team Cleaning
Posted on 07/10/2018
Facility managers and custodians from the Mortensen Elementary articulation area join forces to give the school a good summer scrubbing.A hard year of learning came to an end at Mortensen Elementary. Lesson leftovers were everywhere, but the eerie quiet didn’t last long. A team cleaning squad made up of Jeffco facility managers, or FMs, and custodians from the school’s articulation area took full advantage of the school’s summer pause to renew Mortensen’s insides.

“The whole school has to be cleaned at least once a year. We may take a room here or there throughout the school year, and summer clean it,” explained Coronado Elementary Facility Manager Rich Barr. “Now, during summer, we go through the entire school, and we'll clean it from top to bottom. The walls, the desks, the chairs, anything that's in there.

This process is repeated throughout Jeffco with a small army of team cleaners moving through a list of assigned buildings with almost military precision. Elementary schools usually get two days, middle schools four, and high schools five, almost from the moment the building is empty of students and educators.

“That turnaround Monday, we are prepping carts, getting stuff ready. We need to have enough buckets, putty knives, scrapers, as many hands-on-deck as possible,” said Deer Creek Middle School Facility Manager Kyle Sturbaum. “Trying to get our group and ready to respond day one takes a little encouragement on that first day, and then you just get going. It snowballs on you really fast once you begin the process.”

That is why the teams take an organized approach to the work.

“Top to bottom we try to clean in a certain way. FMs are expected to coach the crews as we clean along,” explained Sturbaum. “You always want to hit the stuff above before you clean anything below. We try to keep it in a pattern just so we're not stepping all over each other or running around, losing track of where we are in rooms.”

The work is hard and efficient, with much attention paid to little details.

“The majority of things, no one will ever notice or they won't consider that we get under every desk, polish the chrome of every chair. If we care about what we're doing, we should be proud that we're doing it right,” said Sturbaum.

They left the carpet shampooing and tile waxing to the school’s FM, but they provided a valuable head start.

“For me, it's awesome. We used to do it by ourselves. The FMs and the custodians would clean their own schools,” said Barr. “I felt like I was always struggling to get done by the end of summer. By teaming up with my fellow FMs and articulation area, it feels more relaxed. It's not quite as stressed.”
And there’s the bonus of camaraderie.

“The majority of custodians love this because the interactions between custodians are fun. It just kind of builds some ties. It really strengthens the articulation area as a whole, said Sturbaum.”

Soon the work at Mortensen will be done, and it will be time for them to move on to the next school where the team cleaning cycle will begin again.

“It's nice to give them a fresh start. It really is,” added Sturbaum.

See the JPS-TV version of this story here.
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