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Passing the Test: How America's K-12 Facility Managers Can Score Better than a D+

Written by Jared Oliva

Nearly a quarter of America’s public school buildings (24 percent) are rated as being in only fair or poor condition. Dilapidated buildings are associated with poorer student performance and lower teacher morale. A study by Carnegie Mellon University reported that, “students in run-down facilities were found to have attended school fewer days on average and had lower grades on standardized tests.”

America’s educational facilities are the embodiment of communities across this country. They are second homes to our children, their boards are chosen by local elections, and they serve as emergency shelters during times of natural disaster. If you want to gauge the vitality of a community, then look no further to the physical state of its school district.

It is estimated that in order to bring America’s educational facilities up to par, the government will have to allocate approximately $38 billion dollars to this endeavor. In his victory speech President Trump stated we’re going to, “rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, and hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none.” Unfortunately despite strong bipartisan support, infrastructure bills have been consistently doomed in Congress. In face of this challenge, educational facility managers should begin refining their existing maintenance programs and looking to the private sector for innovative solutions.

One outdated process that could be reformed is the maintenance of VCT (vinyl composite tile) floors. Maintaining VCT floors requires many steps and exposes workers to dangerous chemicals in wax-strippers like monoethanolamine. Compounding this problem, the average K-12 school janitor has seen the scope of his responsibilities increase from 20,000sqft to 32,000sqft— an increase of more than 50 percent. Fortunately, there is a new method for maintaining VCT floors that eliminates the need to wax or strip ever again.

According to a joint study by the EPA and IRTA, 100 percent solids UV floor coatings require no stripping and waxing, no dangerous airborne chemicals, and can slash the cost of floor maintenance in half. Dexerials America’s DexArmor is currently one of the strongest, high-performing UV floor finishes in the market. A DexArmored surface can withstand over 200 chemical rubs of MEK solvent and 1,000 passes under an abrasion resistance test. Being both highly chemical and wear resistant, DexArmor makes cleaning floors much easier in the long run.

Switching to DexArmor and getting rid of stripping operations will reduce energy and water consumption, moving to a less arduous floor maintenance program will reduce labor inefficiencies, and extending your floor’s life cycle will reduce replacement-related burdens on your budget. Planning for your facility is difficult in the face of the unknown, but with DexArmor your floors will never be unprepared.

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posted on 7/19/2017