Though PPS reacted quickly, some faculty still lost belongings

Lack of days off has seniors stressing over college application process

Anna Ferguson, News Editor

On Friday, Sept. 18, the Math Department offices flooded during a storm.

Physical Plant Services (PPS) facilities manager Steven Linke offered specifics on the flooding via an email sent to the entire faculty and staff. The email explained how the water got into the math offices through the construction barriers adjacent to the project on both the 2nd and 3rd floors.

“We’ve never had anything like it happen before,” said math teacher Terry Phillips. “The water came in through the ceiling so there were about ten desks affected to varying degrees.”

“It was a very difficult day,” said Phillips. “Some people lost their lesson plans and with students coming in for math help, the whole day was pretty chaotic.”

Math teacher Bradley Kuklis elaborated on the chaos of the day, “During the day, the math teachers were pretty good about sharing desk space, and the people who were hit especially hard were able to work from empty desks in the office.”

Flooding is not a new problem for the school, according to Linke, “We have experienced a few major instances over the years, most of those times it’s been the field house that sustained the worst flooding.”

The flooding has not been the only issue the school has experienced with its facilities recently. Earlier in the year, the air conditioning in half of the main building malfunctioned, resulting in sweltering temperatures in many classrooms. “It was actually awful,” said senior Brendan Loftus. “I was sweating through all my classes.”

Linke addressed the broken air conditioning in an email to the staff and faculty. In the email, he explains that though the air conditioning repairs would take top priority for the PPS staff, it still took four weeks to make the repairs.

Students feel much of the school is in poor repair. Water damaged walls and ceilings, chipped tiles, and lockers that don’t lock are trademarks of east campus. The overall wear of the building has many students wondering if the renovation plan has gone far enough. “The entire school is falling apart,” junior Marissa Grief said.

Linke doesn’t believe the claim that the school is falling apart, saying “I don’t think it is in bad shape at all.” He does, however, acknowledge the need for renovation.  “We will be renovating quite a few restrooms, our air conditioning and ventilation. We are planning on some heating system improvements and roof replacements in the next five years,” Linke said.

Following the completion of the current construction project and renovation plans, the administration hopes to reduce the $6 million budget for repair and maintenance.

When dealing with the the maintenance of the school, the Physical Plant Service team’s first priority are issues that produce safety concerns for the students, according to Linke. This includes the cleanup of broken glass and the investigation of falling objects. The next priority on their list are repairs for the building envelope, that is, walls, roof, ceilings. After that is occupant comfort.

This system of priorities was reflected in PPS’ handling of the math department flooding. “The PPS staff reacted very quickly,” said Phillips. “They hired an outfit to make the repairs. By the end of the weekend they had all the carpeting replaced and the ceiling cleaned.”

Kuklis echoed these sentiments, saying “The PPS staff did a phenomenal job cleaning everything up over the weekend–when I walked in the office Monday morning, it was like nothing had happened.”

Despite having what many students consider a run-down appearance, New Trier is still loved by its students. “New Trier’s a rad school,” said senior Charlie Collyer. “I just wish the facilities reflected that.”