Making sure the building is secure, taking care of electrical issues, replacing worn carpeting — these are the everyday tasks completed by our Facilities and Operations (F&O) Department. They may seem mundane to some, but the bottom line is without a crew to take care of these projects, Oakland Schools would not operate as smoothly as it does.
“It seems like every day is different,” said Charles Smith, F&O facility manager since 2001. “It’s not boring, let’s put it that way.”
Smith oversees all F&O work at the four Technical Campus schools while Al Selberg, also a facilities manager, supervises the work done at Main, Summit, White Oaks and JobLink campuses. Despite the wide range of projects, there are only 22 employees in the F&O Department. Each tech campus has its own staff and the rest oversee the other facilities.
It’s kind of like a home, just bigger,” said Smith of what it’s like maintaining the 633,093 square feet of campus Oakland Schools encompasses.
In addition to “smaller” projects like cubicle moves and replacing furniture, F&O oversees many capital plans that can range from replacing all the faucets in a building to new roofs, etc.
“We have a five-year capital projects plan that is updated every year, so we try to predict what is going to go bad and then when things actually do go bad, we are ready,” said Smith.
And the number one complaint the department receives? Selberg and Smith said it’s related room temperature.
“At the campuses, there are many complaints that it’s too cold,” said Smith. “But, we have a strict energy policy that 68 to 72 degrees is the temperature allowed. It’s part of an energy policy adopted by the Board (of Education).”
Recently F&O captured some positive publicity when Oakland Schools received the 2017 Safety is No Accident Award from SET SEG’s MASB-SEG Property/Casualty Pool. Read more about the award here. Oakland Schools earned the award because of its commitment to the upkeep of school grounds, leading to a low number of accident and injury claims in recent years. The Intermediate School District was also credited for having adopted recommended safety measures in a timely manner.
Selberg and Smith credit Oakland Schools garnering the award to their staff.
“We are blessed to have such a great team. It makes our jobs easier,” said Selberg. “They care about the work they do.”
Sarah Davis is a communications specialist with Oakland Schools. You can reach her at email@example.com.