Monthly Administrative Updates

June 2024 Administrative Update

Bryan Mertzlufft, Director of Buildings & Groundsintendent of Schools

by Bryan Mertzlufft
Director of Buildings & Grounds

Unsung and Unseen Heroes

Getting to know the East Aurora Union Free School District’s Buildings and Grounds Department, I’ve quickly come to realize that the crew does so much to impact our students and their experiences while on campus. The department is made up of five teams: three custodial staffs (one per school), grounds maintenance, and building maintenance. Additionally, the district messenger, deputy director, and director round out the department.

Although the custodial staff on each campus generally perform similar tasks, each have unique responsibilities. All ensure the building's learning spaces, hallways, and offices are clean, safe, and ready for school each day. At the high school, which hosts many clubs and sports, the gym, pool, auditorium, and athletic fields require additional attention and setup in preparation for students, families, community members, and visiting teams. The middle school staff faces many of those same tasks, with a few distinct additions. Home to the district office, they are tasked with ensuring all conference rooms and meeting locations are set up and equipped for the timely and productive business conducted by the various district committees. The building itself also presents unique challenges. Over 100 years old and consisting of three floors, there are always unforeseen obstacles that the staff must adjust to and overcome. Parkdale Elementary poses its own distinctive challenges. Although they do not have as many after-school and sports activities as the other campuses, elementary teachers plan and the building hosts multiple exciting events throughout the school year. Behind the scenes, the custodial staff prepares the spaces for each of these events. Most importantly, elementary students spend a significant amount of time learning while sitting on the floor. Our Parkdale staff recognizes the importance of providing clean and safe learning environments and devotes extra attention to ensuring the floors and carpets are well cleaned.

Grounds Maintenance guarantees all 120 acres of land are mowed in the summer, and all roadways, parking lots, and sidewalks are plowed in the winter. Maintaining nine grass athletic fields on campus and an additional two fields at Hamlin and Gleed Avenue Parks, they ensure all surfaces are properly mowed and in-fields are groomed and striped. They also maintain and set up athletic field equipment such as goals, tennis nets, etc.. They are responsible for maintaining the track and turf field, and ensuring the fill is sufficient and tested to ensure safety. Surprisingly, this is all accomplished by only two grounds staff members.

Our building maintenance team consists of four technicians tasked with maintaining, repairing, and performing preventative maintenance on all district buildings heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, plumbing, and sewer systems, as well as the physical structures themselves. This is a very heavy lift, as there are hundreds of systems working in concert to supply all the necessary elements for a successful learning environment. They respond to unscheduled maintenance requests, from minor issues such as leaky faucets to major concerns such as clogged sewer mains. The team works closely with industry partners to ensure all systems are operating efficiently and safely, providing uninterrupted service to all learning spaces throughout the district. There is never a lack of “to-do” for this team.

Rounding out the department is the district messenger, who moves both inter-office and USPS mail throughout the district and transports required items to special events. Whether the Middle School Band is playing at Knox Farm or Parkdale students are performing a play at the high school, all necessary equipment is transported via the district messenger. The Director and Deputy Director of Buildings and Grounds ensure all of this happens as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

As you can see, the unsung heroes of the Buildings and Grounds department do a great deal to promote positive learning environments by creating clean, safe and inviting spaces that directly impact our students educational experiences.