Sierra Vista Herald
January 22, 2016
by Christine Steele

Bisbee High passes follow-up health inspection
All violations corrected, repairs complete or in progress

BISBEE — Bisbee High School passed its follow-up health inspection with flying colors. All health violations have been corrected and repairs have either been completed or are in progress, according to a Jan. 19 follow-up inspection by Cochise County Environmental Health Specialist Carl Hooper.

Hooper detailed multiple violations following a Nov. 10 inspection of the restrooms, showers, cafeteria, sewage disposal and water supply. In each of those areas, the school showed one or more deficiencies including crumbling faucets, leaking toilets, inoperable showers, dirty drinking fountains and no hot water for showers or hand washing.

The lack of hot water issue was resolved just days after the November inspection when a new boiler, which had already been ordered and paid for with money from the School Facilities Fund, was installed.

The school was directed to make repairs immediately and a follow-up inspection was scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Jan. 15 but neither Superintendent Jim Phillips nor Transportation and Maintenance Director Richard Hodges was available that day, so the inspection was rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Over the last two months, district maintenance staff have been working hard to address the issues, Hodges said. Last month, just before Christmas, Copper Queen Community Hospital stepped in and volunteered to help pay for a substantial amount of the repairs after high school principal Laura Miller reached out to the community for help.

“For two months, it’s incredible the amount of work that got done, between the hospital and who they hired and the work they did, to our maintenance and custodial crew at the high school,” Hodges said. “They have worked like crazy to get everything done in time for this inspection. As a supervisor, I am surprised at the amount of work they got done. We only have three maintenance guys and they did an excellent job. One guy kept all the facilities going while the other two were working on repairs. They were working nights and weekends to get everything done, along with our three custodians at the high school. They all did a phenomenal job. But there is no way it could have been done without the hospital’s help.”

The four major areas that required repairs were two restrooms that needed replacement of four urinals, one sink and fixtures, plus hazardous materials testing, demolition and construction to put them back into service — all of which was paid for by the hospital. The hospital also replaced the hot water circulating pump and is paying to have approximately 1,500 feet of rain gutter installed to prevent flooding of classrooms.

“They handled it from top to bottom, start to finish,” Hodges said of the repairs the hospital funded. “They hired the contractors and they did a very good job.”

“The big public health issues—lack of hot water, leaking toilets, and unusable restrooms—have been remedied,” Hooper wrote via email Thursday afternoon. “The remaining items are either addressed or in progress and slated for completion by the first week of May.”
“He was very pleased with what he saw,” Hodges said. “Nothing in there was done halfway. When they started a project, they took it all the way.”

The repairs had an added side bonus, as construction students at the high school got a first-hand look at what goes into an actual construction project.
“The contractors that are working on this have been very willing to let our students watch and explain to them what was being done and the code requirements and just general construction requirements,” Hodges said, “like why you put a stud here and not there, and they got to watch the gutter machine, which is fascinating to watch, and everything from the plumbing to the drywall. The construction companies that have been here have been very educationally oriented.”

The exact cost of all of the repairs hasn’t been detailed yet but is estimated to be more than $80,000. Hodges will detail the amount the district spent and all of the repairs in a presentation to the Bisbee School Board at the next board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Superintendent Phillips said he appreciated the hospital’s help, especially in a time when funding for schools is slim.

“I would like to thank CEO of the Copper Queen Hospital, Jim Dickson, and the hospital Board of Trustees for their response to assist with the needed facility repairs to our high school,” he said. “We needed help like theirs at a time that the state does very little to help. The hospital realizes that the high school is an important part of the community and was happy to help out financially and with added manpower. Mr. Hodges and his maintenance crew have also been working tirelessly to get what needed to be fixed done.”

The district, along with the Bisbee High School administration and staff, will be holding a special reception to honor those who worked and contributed to facility improvements starting at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, in the high school cafeteria.

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