The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Education feature: Clovis schools maintenance department recognized


November 7, 2018

Jamie Cushman

Heating technician Joseph Mondragon runs a diagnostic test on a heating unit on the roof of Zia Elementary.

CLOVIS — For the third straight year, Clovis Municipal Schools has been recognized for having the best maintenance department among all 6A school districts in the state.

CMS won the Best Performer Award from the New Mexico Public Schools Facility Authority.

Larry Tillotson, the maintenance and operations manager for the PSFA, said the awards are based on real-life data including completing work orders in a timely and cost-efficient manner as well as doing preventative maintenance work and utilizing maintenance management software.

"Clovis has an exemplary maintenance program," Tillotson said. "They have programs that should be emulated across the state of New Mexico. They really use the computerized maintenance management software program to a very high level. They are no doubt the best in the state."

Superintendent Jody Balch echoed those sentiments in believing the CMS maintenance department is the best in the state and complimented the group for doing so without a large number of people on staff.

"I think it's important knowing that our students will have a clean, safe and healthy environment to learn in and that's what maintenance is about," Balch said. "It's just about maintaining our facilities and ensuring our teachers and students have an arena daily that they can be productive in without having to fight things like heat and cold and unsanitary and those types of conditions that are not conducive to a quality education."

Tillotson said the awards are largely based on each district's FMAR, or Facility Maintenance Assessment Report, which itself is based on three factors: a district's preventive maintenance plan, the use of the computerized maintenance management software and an on-site maintenance assessments where the PSFA checks 22 categories including heating, fire safety systems and roofs.

"So it's not based on my opinion or anybody saying, 'Hey I like Clovis today,' it's based on actual real-life data," Tillotson said.

He said Clovis' maintenance work has been able to extend the lifespan of the district's facilities beyond what was expected, saving money by not building new schools prematurely. Balch said that also brings in more money to the district as well, showing PSFA that CMS is a good steward of tax dollars and deserving of funding year after year.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Carrie Bunce said about four years ago the district began conducting its own yearly assessments on buildings prior to the PSFAs, which she described as a "game-changer."

"We are identifying things that need to be repaired, upcoming problems, doing as much preventative maintenance as possible," Bunce said. "We're finding little problems before they become big problems and that has been probably the biggest game-changer for us."

While the PSFA does not currently have an award that recognizes the best maintenance department in the state — Tillotson said that will be coming next year — Clovis would certainly be in the running, if not a guaranteed winner.

"To be honest with you if we put Clovis in the room with all 91 school districts, Clovis by far is the best of the best. They do things like no other," Tillotson said. "Clovis no doubt really sets the bar."


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