After Extensive Building Improvements, District Schools Ready to Welcome Students Monday, August 27

Posted on August 24, 2018
Categories: News from SDP

More than 1,200 District staff and contractors prepared buildings over the summer

PHILADELPHIA – The School District of Philadelphia is gearing up to #RingTheBellPHL and welcome all students back to school on Monday, August 27, after an extensive schedule of work over the summer to help improve the safety and environmental conditions of school buildings.

“More than 1,200 District maintenance staff and contractors have been hard at work this summer to ensure our school buildings are healthy, inviting and safe spaces for our children to learn, starting from the very first day of school,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “In addition to the deep cleaning that each school receives over the summer, many schools were the recipients of accelerated health and safety projects to ensure that the next school year is a success for both students and staff.”

In an effort to keep families and staff informed about the work being done in schools, the District released five bi-weekly updates on its summer building improvements. Work over the summer included cleaning and improvements in the following four main areas:

Paint and Plaster:

Nearly 100 District Maintenance painters and contractors repaired over 22,000 square feet of damaged paint and plaster across 168 rooms at the Finletter, Logan, Emlen, AS Jenks, Barton, and Kirkbride schools. Work will continue at 38 schools throughout the school year to ensure the safety of students and staff, partly made possible by a $7.6 million state grant announced by Governor Tom Wolf and state Sen. Vincent Hughes. School buildings will be inspected daily and if paint dust and debris are found, a certified HEPA vacuum will be used to remove them.

Air Quality:

As part of a $5.6 million HVAC upgrade project, the District installed 123 unit ventilators and 18 air handlers at the J.B. Kelly and Hon. Luis Munoz-Marin schools. In addition, workers replaced over 2,000 feet of pipes at J.B. Kelly, and replaced ducts at Munoz-Marin to prevent moisture buildup and improve air quality.


In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the District completed asbestos abatement work at the following six schools: A.S. Jenks, Cassidy, H.A. Brown, Olney, Mifflin and Nebinger. Asbestos air testing was then performed jointly by the District’s and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ environmental consultant. In addition, all schools are monitored by a third party, licensed environmental consultant twice per year, per EPA regulations. Additional work will be completed at J. Hampton Moore School by Monday, August 27, when students head back to class.

Classroom Modernizations:
Over the summer the District modernized 163 classrooms across 11 schools to support its focus on early literacy and college and career readiness. The improvements include: desks, chairs and seating options better suited for students’ age groups; improved lighting; new paint, cabinets, closets and technology to support small-group instruction. The approximately $20 million investment took place at the following elementary schools: J.H. Brown, George Childs, Anna B. Day, Louis Farrell, William Hunter, Morton McMichael, J. Rhoads, William Rowen, Steel, John Taggart and John Webster. Click here for more information on these modernization efforts.

The work comes after the District recently announced updated cleaning standards to ensure every school is cleaned to the same standards. The Cleaning Guidelines, developed in partnership with union Local 32 BJ District 1201, spell out the types of daily cleaning that need to be completed. These procedures will ensure facilities remain clean, and that all custodial tasks are completed on a regular basis.

To ensure the health and safety of all students and staff, if a student, family member or teacher encounters a maintenance issue in their school, they should report it directly to the school principal.