This time of year, we get many questions about the activity surrounding our school buildings.

Summer is the time of year that we are able to complete complicated maintenance projects (roofs, windows, floors), deep clean all areas of the buildings, and repair parking lots, school buses and district vehicles. It is a busy time of the year for our custodians, mechanics and maintenance staff members.

The district is comprised of 34 buildings that cover 119 square miles and it serves more than 22,000 students and their families. We maintain 180 school buses that transport students more than 17,500 miles every school day in addition to the other vehicles and tools used by a highly trained maintenance department (trucks, grounds service vehicles, tractors, trimmers, snow blowers and more).

Imagine all of the mowing, cleaning and repairs you routinely make to your home. While cleaning my house takes the better part of every Saturday morning, cleaning our school buildings includes classrooms, carpets, desks, bathrooms, offices, computers, light fixtures and waxing the floors.

During the summer months, in preparation for the new school year, district 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 approximately 5.000 desktop computers

* Upgrade the district's food-service system and equipment

* Replace approximately 220 school projectors and install interactive flat-panel demo rooms

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

* Power wash and apply waterproofing to four buildings

* Clean more than 23,500 lockers and cubbies

* Apply more than 720 gallons of paint to building areas

* Maintain more than 150 acres of asphalt and concrete

* Oversee the replacement of 447,000 square feet of roofing

* Make repairs to another 42,000 square feet of roofing

* Replace the windows at East Franklin Elementary School

* Install rubber tile at five playground sites

* Install and move wireless access points for better commuter access in classrooms

* Service our school bus fleet so all buses exceed inspection standards.

Just as regular home maintenance provides a safe environment for your family, school maintenance is about providing a clean and safe school environment for our children 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, facilitate the day-to-day operations and contribute to the fiscal health of the district.

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