Have you ever wondered what it takes to maintain the buildings and grounds of a large school district like the South-Western City School District?

It's very similar to the maintenance on your home and car, but on a much larger scale.

The South-Western City School District is comprised of 34 buildings that cover 119 square miles and serves more than 22,000 students and their families. We maintain 173 school buses that transport students more than 17,200 miles every school day, in addition to other vehicles and tools used by a highly trained maintenance department (trucks, snow plows, grounds-service vehicles, tractors, weed trimmers, snow blowers, etc.)

When I was a child, our yard was close to 11 acres in size. It took me about two to three hours to mow two acres of the lawn each week.

During the spring, summer and fall months, the district's staff will mow more than 400 acres of grounds as well as trim the bushes and refresh the landscaping at each building site.

Cleaning the house took us the better part of every Saturday morning. This included cleaning the carpets, waxing the floors, cleaning countertops and desk areas, and cleaning the bathrooms.

During the summer in preparation for the new school year, the staff will:

* Apply more than 4,000 gallons of floor finish throughout the buildings.

* Clean more than 3,000,000 square feet of building space.

* Clean in excess of 60,000 square feet of carpeting.

* Clean more than 30,000 desks and tables.

* Clean about 5,000 desktop computers.

* Care for more than 35 varsity and junior varsity practice and general athletic fields and practice areas.

* Replace more than 80 restroom sinks.

* Clean more than 23,500 lockers and cubbies.

* Apply more than 640 gallons of paint to building areas.

* Maintain more than 150 acres of asphalt and concrete.

* Oversee the replacement of 150,000 square feet of roofing and repair another 30,000 square feet of roofing.

Just as regular home maintenance provides a safe environment for your family, school maintenance is about providing a clean and safe environment for our students while creating a physical setting that is appropriate for today's learners.

Maintaining our facilities and grounds is a vital task to meet the needs of our students and staff members and support the day-to-day operations and fiscal health of the district.

Mark Waller is the coordinator of property services and construction projects for the South-Western City School District.