School custodians and facility workers honored

Oct 16, 2018

They’re the unsung heroes of Dartmouth Public Schools: The men and women who keep the buildings clean, functioning, and modern.

At its October 15 meeting, the School Committee honored the district’s custodial and facilities staff with a reception. It was organized following a busy summer of projects for crews, which included doing everything from installing LED lighting at every school, to renovating modular classrooms.

“They make our schools look terrific, maintain them, and undertake projects like the renovation of the modular classrooms at Potter,” explained Superintendent Bonny Gifford.

She said she was particularly moved to honor the team after entering Cushman Elementary School to find it under construction over the summer, but ready to welcome kids back to school in the fall.

Overseeing the team of hard workers is Rick Ferreira, the district’s facilities director. He’s been with the district for more than 20 years, and explained his department has a role in fixing “everything that can go wrong” not only inside and outside the school buildings, but also on the roads on school buses.

His team includes licensed plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and contractors. In a typical day, staff responds to about 10 major calls for help each day, in addition to general requests like lights not working or plumbing issues.

“Just today we had a short in a pump underground, and we have the everyday calls like the lights being out,” Ferreira said.

His crews can also take on major construction projects, saving schools money in the long run. The team most recently did a complete renovation of modular classrooms at Potter Elementary School in-house, instead of contracting it out.

Each school building also has its own set of custodians and staff members who keep each building clean and orderly. Each employee was called by name at the October 15 meeting and honored individually.