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Tossing out duct tape
Bond projects using carpet squares
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Duct tape to keep frayed carpet together will eventually become a thing of the past in Manteca Unified School District classrooms.

That’s because when aging carpet that’s been in place for 20 plus years and held together by duct tape is replaced it won’t be with traditional carpet.

Instead the district will employ carpet squares.

“With squares when an area wears out we can just remove the square and replace it,” noted Clark Burke, who serves as Manteca Unified deputy superintendent.

It is just one way that the school district is working to maximize what voters authorized through the $159 million Measure G bond measure. The first bond sales are expected to take place as early as May. Work will start in the following months.

The need to replace frayed classroom carpet kept together with duct tape was one of the arguments used during the campaign to get people to vote for the bond.

The square approach has been deployed at Brock Elliott School. Burke said that from staff’s experience at Brock Elliott School, they know not to have all of the carpet squares they place be the same exact color. That’s because when all the squares are the same color, the replacement of one creates an odd spot that sticks out like a sore thumb. When they are installed originally in a slight variation of shades, if a section is replaced that has faded a bit the replacement one fits right into the visual pattern.

“It actually looks quite good,” said District Superintendent Jason Messer of the varied color shades when a new carpet square is put in place.

The square carpet system reduces replacement costs significantly as it can not only be done when needed but in small increments. It also eliminates the need to clear out furniture and to have multiple maintenance people do the work.

The district also is reducing wear and tear thanks to the restoration of a custodian supervisor in last year’s budget. Among the supervisor’s duties is ordering the right product for a job. After the budget crisis hit and the position was eliminated, the district’s purchasing agent ordered supplies for custodians. The purchasing agent had no working knowledge of exactly what was needed.

As an example, a carpet shampoo not selected based on carpet type can actually accelerate wear and tear.

Messer said the district looked at other flooring options such as linoleum and even finished concrete. While both would cost less to maintain and would have a longer useful life, Messer said Manteca Unified can’t simply opt for the cheapest solution.

“We need to take into account education requirements,” Messer said.

Hearing is critical for many students and the sound of desk chairs clanging or sliding on concrete or linoleum would be a distraction. Also, in lower grades students often sit on the floor.